Nobody should be surprised that the president and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19.
For months, Donald Trump has intentionally downplayed the coronavirus. He called it a hoax. He refused to wear a mask. He staged rallies, both indoor and outdoor. He behaved in a negligent manner and showed a callous indifference to the health and safety of millions of Americans, directly leading to more than 7 million infections and nearly 210,000 deaths.
Now, Trump will get a first-hand taste of the hell that his seemingly intentional mismanagement has unleashed upon the people of this country.
Donald Trump and Melania Trump both are infected and will be quarantined. It appears they are in the early stages of the incubation period, since neither is reported to have any symptoms.
It is possible both will skate through without much trouble. To be sure, they will be offered the best medical care in the country, far better than what the average citizen would get.
In all likelihood, however, Donald Trump is about to have some very tough days ahead. In fact, it is conceivable he won’t make it to election day, or he could die shortly thereafter.
The president is in the high-risk category. He is 74-years-old, and he is overweight. Far younger and far healthier people have struggled for weeks and/or months with the effects of the virus. Trump’s counterpart overseas, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, nearly died. Johnson is 18 years younger than Trump, and he survived after spending several days in intensive care.
Trump has had a few close calls. Several people around him have tested positive. There was a valet, aide Stephen Miller’s wife, his son’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle. All seem to have sailed through it with few deleterious effects. Trump managed to avoid infection in all those cases.
But the president’s luck ran out when close confidante Hope Hicks tested positive Wednesday. Now he is infected, the First Lady is infected and it is possible more members of Trump’s inner circle could be infected as well. It’s the result of a culture of anti-science denial that has permeated the executive branch of government.
Over and over throughout the crisis, we have witnessed individuals get infected who have thumbed their noses at the virus and refuse to wear masks, from ordinary people to the now-late Herman Cain. These people have become the physical embodiment of the phrase, “you reap what you sow.”
Once again, we have learned that the virus doesn’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican. It doesn’t care if you live in California or Texas. It doesn’t care if you live in squalor in the poorest section of an urban city, or if your home address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The virus will infect anyone and everyone, rich or poor, and it is not going to magically disappear, like the president keeps saying.
Donald Trump had an opportunity to approach the crisis like a responsible leader. Instead, he has fought tooth-and-nail from almost the very beginning to ignore public-health recommendations in a misguided attempt to quickly revive the economy. If any harm comes to him, the irony will be that he will have essentially done it to himself.
Perhaps this will be a wake-up call. We can only hope that all the people who have protested wearing masks, advocated for a premature rush back to school campuses and thrown the doors of bars and restaurants wide open will now be shocked into reconsidering their reckless decisions.
If the President of the United States can catch the virus, it is damn certain you can as well.