Before 2016, if someone were to suggest to me that a current sitting president may have tried to take out his challenger at a debate with a deadly transmissible virus, I’d have asked them what kind of weed they were smoking and buy a few joints off of them.
But then we elected a sociopath.
With recent reporting and a new book out from the disgraced former president’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, it appears that Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus nearly six days earlier than first reported. Under normal circumstances, the first positive rapid antigen test would have triggered an immediate cessation of all activities and a more accurate PCR test. But then again, nothing was ever normal between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021.
According to Meadows, Trump tested negative when they did a second rapid test, seemingly justifying why he didn’t halt all activities. CDC guidelines state that a more accurate PCR test should immediately follow to verify the first positive. But, we all know that the former president ignored science from the beginning of the pandemic, so his actions were more than predictable.
The specific period in question was in late September 2020 when Trump and current President Joe Biden were locked in a heated battle for the presidency. According to an extensive analysis by the Washington Post, Trump came in contact with more than 500 people from the day he tested positive until the day he was hospitalized at Walter Reed.
During that time frame, Trump’s reckless behavior was on full display. His positive test was hidden from the public, his inner circle, and his top public health officials. He never took preventive measures such as wearing a mask or social distancing. He carried on as if nothing was amiss.
The night he first learned of the positive test, he was on Air Force One, en route to a massive rally in Middletown, Pa. Even though Trump was aware of the test results, he continued to the event, never telling any of the staff, aides, or journalists accompanying him on the plane.
Whether he was contagious or not at that point is beside the point. No previous president, or the current one for that matter, would have conducted themselves in this manner. But we’re talking about sane people who would know better, not an unhinged narcissist.
In addition to the Pennsylvania rally, there was the infamous “super-spreader” event at the White House Rose Garden to announce his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court; a private reception afterward with nobody wearing masks; a mask-less Trump news conference in the White House briefing room; and a gathering in the East Wing for Gold Star families.
Speaking of those Gold Star families, Trump, if you remember, seemingly blamed them for his infection in an interview on Fox News. You’ve got to hand it to him; the guy loves the military – even though many of them are “suckers and losers,” as he allegedly referred to them at one point, according to Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic.
After the first initial positive test result on September 26, Meadows, in his book, remarked that he sensed something seemed wrong with the president, that he was “looking a little tired,” assuming that maybe he had a slight cold.
Three days later, on the day of the debate in which he huddled with a group of advisors, including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Meadows thought the president looked “slightly” better. Christie, of course, would later contract Covid, as would nearly 24 of Trump’s inner circle by the end of October. We would later find out that Christie’s condition was dire, eventually needing extensive treatment in intensive care.
So we do not know if Trump was contagious the night of the debate, held in Cleveland. Only Trump himself would know how he felt. Indeed, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he was shedding virus at that point. But, in true Trumpian fashion, he refused to wear a mask when entering the auditorium, as did his equally irresponsible family members.
Doctors from the Cleveland Clinic, overseeing the debate’s testing protocol, offered Trump’s family the opportunity to wear masks, but they proudly declined. It goes to show you that the apple does not fall far from the tree with these folks.
So there he was, at the debate podium, yelling, screaming, and interrupting the 77-year-old Biden at every turn – unleashing millions of aerosolized particles from his big mouth for nearly 90 minutes. Yes, they were socially distanced, and the venue’s ventilation most likely helped prevent the droplets from ever reaching Biden.
I suppose we’ll never know for sure if, in the back of his demented and diabolical mind, Trump didn’t hope that a few of those droplets drifted over to his campaign rival. You know, maybe not kill him, but certainly, knock him out for a few weeks. Or, hell, perhaps he did want to infect him fatally. Again, with what we know from the previous four years of hell, the amount of depravity it would take for Trump to even think of pulling something like that off would surprise no one.
Let’s remember that Congress impeached Trump the first time for trying to enlist a foreign government, Ukraine, in digging up dirt on Biden. He knew Biden was his chief political rival at that point, and it showed how far he was willing to go to damage him for political gain.
Yes, the irresponsibility of a sitting president deliberately parading around without a mask, not telling anyone he tested positive, and knowing full well he might be infected with a deadly virus will undoubtedly be yet another disgraceful page for the history books.
When I mentioned above that we elected a sociopath in 2016, I’d like to offer the following definition, courtesy of dictionary.com:
A person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
I’ll leave it to those of you who read this post to determine if that definition accurately describes the 45th president.