- Donald Trump doesn't care about you. It's more obvious now that he has COVID-19 than it ever has been before (and it was obvious before).
- The timeline of when Trump knew he may have been exposed, or might be sick, is fuzzy. But we know he likely had some idea he may have been exposed by Wednesday, when a staffer started showing symptoms.
- That didn't stop him from continuing to travel, potentially infecting staff at his golf course New Jersey, some donors he met with, staff at the White House, his security detail, and his family. Literally anyone he came into contact with.
- That "anyone" could easily have been you or someone you love. Trump would remain unbothered.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
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President Donald Trump doesn't care about you.
If it wasn't painfully obvious after he barely gave a thought to fires in California, and hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida, it should be obvious now. If it wasn't obvious when his administration sent police to violently clear peaceful protesters outside the White House, it should be obvious now.
If Trump cared about people, he would be careful. Instead, the last few weeks of his presidency have been like one man's attempt to break every CDC coronavirus guideline he could before the November election. And now he has COVID-19 himself.
Let's start on Sunday, September 26. In the midst of a raging global pandemic, Trump seemed to add to the infection count by holding a what appears to have been a superspreader event at the White House — breaking all kinds of guidelines designed to mitigate the spread.
After mingling with a slew of Republican colleagues and advisers who turned out the be COVID-positive, Trump went to Ohio on Tuesday, where he shouted at his nemesis, Vice President Joe Biden, in a room for what seemed to most of America like an eternity. He had arrived at the event late, so he and his family — who all refused to wear the masks that were offered to them — were not tested for the virus.
Trump moved on to Duluth, Minnesota on Wednesday, where he held a rally for his most die-hard supporters. The Mayor of Duluth is now urging everyone who attended the rally to get tested.
Around that time one of Trump's closest aides, Hope Hicks, started showing symptoms. She "isolated" herself aboard Air Force One as Trump directed the flying petri dish over to Bedminister, New Jersey. There he met with donors who paid $250,000 to shower praise and ask favors of someone who could very likely be giving them a deadly virus in return. There was a buffet.
We do not know exactly when Trump tested positive for COVID-19. We know he had at least one positive reading from a rapid response test when he went on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News and said he was still waiting for his test results.
The lies and dissimulation from Trump and his staff have continued since the White House announced his positive reading on Friday around 1 am. They do not care if the American people know what's happening to their government. They do not care that, for the last weekend, the news has been dominated by a cascade of infected Senators and other leaders. They do not care that they have no credibility, not as long as Trump is happy with the way they sound on television.
His medical staff and White House staff are continuing to confuse the public about what the president knew when, or how bad his illness has gotten — though we do know he has been given supplemental oxygen and that he is taking experimental drugs and hardcore treatments including dexamethasone, a steroid usually taken by sick people in extremely dire straights.
Trump's priority now, as ever, is to look good — it doesn't matter what the truth of this situation is. It doesn't matter what you actually need to know. That is why he locked his Secret Service security detail in hermetically sealed-car with his infected body on Sunday, just so he could wave for the cameras as he drove by adoring constituents.
Trump also released a video of himself from inside Walter Reed saying that he had learned about the virus at a real "school," which one has to assume means the school of experience. He wasn't necessarily clear. The video had the air of someone who was trying to say they were wrong without ever saying they were wrong, and messages like that are always confusing. I hope whoever shot the video was wearing a mask and is now isolating.
All of this was panned as pure theater, and badly executed at that. Meanwhile on Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced that she too had tested positive for COVID-19.
It's obvious why Trump put the agents and staff at risk and it's obvious why Trump acted so flippantly about the pandemic from the beginning and the risks to others from his own diagnosis in particular.
He does not care about them and he does not care about you.
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This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).
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