From the day he examined optimistic till his hospitalization, Trump got here in touch with greater than 500 folks, both these in proximity to him or at crowded occasions, not together with rallygoers, in response to a Washington Publish evaluation of the president’s interactions throughout that interval.
Trump obtained his first optimistic check end result for COVID-19 on Sept. 26. For the subsequent seven days, in response to the Publish’s evaluation, “Trump and [chief of staff Mark] Meadows hid Trump’s optimistic check not simply from the general public, but in addition from his internal circle and from his prime public well being officers.” Compounding the truth that his optimistic check was hidden from his employees, Trump took no steps by any means to advise, inform, warn, or shield anybody else he crossed paths with for a full week, whereupon he himself was hospitalized at Walter Reed.
Because the Publish experiences, Trump “not solely hid the end result but in addition proceeded to place hundreds of people in danger by persevering with his regular actions whereas refusing to put on a masks or observe social distancing.“ And when he lastly, with nice public fanfare, hospitalized himself, what he did subsequent was even more revealing of his full absence of human decency. As Paul Krugman notes, writing for The New York Times:
[W]hen he got here down with a life-threatening case of Covid, he urged that he might need caught it from Gold Star families he had met with after his optimistic check — that’s, he blamed folks he himself had callously endangered.
Because the Publish evaluation factors out, the official White Home narrative of Trump’s bout with COVID-19 places his first optimistic check somewhat implausibly because the day earlier than he self-admitted to Walter Reed Hospital. A brand new ebook by Trump’s former Chief of Workers Mark Meadows now confirms the sooner, Sept. 26 optimistic check, which Trump is now referring to as a “false optimistic” to attempt to distract from his personal malign habits in hiding the very fact of his infectiousness from these he encountered that week.
Because the Publish notes, we’ll by no means actually know whether or not that check was a “false optimistic,” as Trump now claims:
There is no such thing as a manner of understanding whether or not the preliminary Sept. 26 coronavirus check was a false optimistic or, somewhat, the primary true indicator of the virus that might fell Trump days later. Each Meadows and Trump have beforehand misled the general public on a bunch of points, together with Trump’s covid standing. Meadows declined to remark additional via a spokesman, and a Trump spokesman didn’t reply to a request for remark.
In his ebook, Meadows acknowledged that an antibody check throughout this similar timeframe had come again adverse, however the Publish observes that underneath Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) pointers, Trump “ought to have taken a extra correct polymerase chain response (PCR) check to substantiate whether or not he had the coronavirus.” Meadows describes Trump as trying drained on the day that he obtained that end result; Meadows assumed Trump had a chilly. People much less cowardly and petrified of the implications than Meadows have confirmed what ought to have been apparent underneath these circumstances:
“Had I been there, and Dr. Conley would have instructed me they might have obtained a optimistic check, I might have assumed it was correct and albeit canceled all the pieces immediately,” mentioned John F. Kelly, one in every of Trump’s earlier chiefs of employees, including that he additionally would have rushed Trump to Walter Reed Nationwide Army Medical Heart. “To do the rest could be irresponsible.”
The truth that a president who checks optimistic for a lethal virus ought to have the frequent decency to keep away from human contact for no less than a restricted time thereafter appears self-evident, however because the Publish’s article confirms, there may be little doubt that Trump knew (or ought to have recognized) he was probably contaminated from the beginning of his actions that week, and never on the day earlier than he self-admitted to Walter Reed.
“It could make extra sense that you’d check optimistic after which numerous sufferers we see hospitalized find yourself hospitalized on Day 10 or that second week, when the inflammatory response of the immune system is taking up,” mentioned Abraar Karan, an infectious-disease physician and international well being researcher at Stanford College. “Let’s say you’re uncovered right now. You might not check optimistic for 3 to 5 days as a result of the virus is in its early phases incubating, in order that first week, you’re testing optimistic, however it’s actually in that second week — seven, 10, 14 days out — that you possibly can have extra extreme signs from inflammatory response.”
Final Wednesday, Meadows tried to walk back the clear implication that Trump knew he was presumably COVID-19 optimistic throughout the timeframe of those conferences and occasions. Going through agitated pushback final week from Trump on the problem, Meadows has now (belatedly) asserted that Trump had obtained a number of adverse checks by the point he debated Joe Biden (three days after receiving a optimistic end result). Nevertheless, because the Publish factors out, Meadows’ ebook solely mentions one adverse check—not a number of ones.
However finally it doesn’t matter. Between the time Trump obtained that preliminary optimistic check end result—which might have clued any first rate human being, not to mention a president, into his potential as a spreader of the virus—and his hospitalization at Walter Reed, Trump knowingly and intentionally interacted with some 500 folks. Instantly after receiving the information of the optimistic check, Trump proceeded to attend a rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania. On the flight again, he spent 10 unmasked minutes speaking to his press entourage aboard Air Drive One. A kind of reporters would check optimistic every week later. Additionally on that Saturday, after he had obtained his optimistic check end result, Trump held the notorious Rose Backyard look the place he introduced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Courtroom. Throughout this occasion and all through the rest of the day, Trump got here into contact with an estimated 150 folks.
The next day, once more, understanding full properly he’d simply examined optimistic for COVID-19, Trump held a 37-minute press convention within the White Home briefing room, once more unmasked, after which held a gathering with Gold Star navy households, accompanied by then-Vice President Mike Pence and Pence’s spouse, amongst others.
Monday was one other busy day for Trump as he touted the virtues of an electrical pickup truck on the South Garden. He got here into contact with about 30 folks on that day, in response to the Publish. As is now extensively recognized, on Tuesday, Trump then engaged within the televised debate with Joe Biden, with neither he nor his employees divulging the optimistic check end result. He had engaged for debate prep with aides earlier through the day, once more telling nobody about his prior check. All instructed, he got here into shut contact with 20 people who Tuesday.
Because the Publish notes, Trump then attended a post-debate rally the next day, which is when Trump’s aide, Hope Hicks, started to really feel sick. Disregarding Hicks’ situation, Trump elected as an alternative to attend a rally in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday, the next day. Trump examined optimistic once more for COVID-19 later that day after coming into contact with roughly one other 200 folks. He tweeted about this (second) optimistic end result at 1 a.m. Friday morning, the day he entered Walter Reed.
After he got here out from his hospitalization, the primary public factor Trump did—reflexively actually—was in charge his an infection with COVID-19 on the very first thing that popped into his head. On this case, it was the Gold Star households of useless U.S. troopers he’d met with earlier that week. As reported by the Military Times:
President Donald Trump urged he could have contracted coronavirus from households of fallen troops throughout a White Home occasion late final month as a result of he couldn’t observe social distancing when “they wish to hug me and so they wish to kiss me.”
‘I didn’t wish to cancel that,’ Trump mentioned of the Sept. 27 event, which included a number of dozen visitors and a number of other high-ranking navy officers. ‘All of them got here in and so they all talked about their son and daughter and father … They inform me these tales, and I can’t say ‘again up, stand 10 ft away,’ you understand? I simply can’t do it.’
When you’re in search of some acknowledgement in that assertion that Trump himself had examined optimistic for COVID-19 on the very day earlier than he purportedly “hugged and kissed” these households, you received’t discover it, as a result of it doesn’t exist.
What Trump did was search his thoughts for a fast and simple manner out of his predicament. To acknowledge that he’d examined optimistic would reveal him because the malignant, uncaring narcissist that he really is. So he needed to provide you with a scapegoat. As a result of that’s his character—it’s the way in which he thinks. Similar to a cornered rat will do something … something to flee, Trump got here up with something to deflect from his personal malign indifference. The truth that this falsely implicated the households of useless U.S. troopers by no means troubled him; actually, it in all probability by no means occurred to him. They have been a handy excuse, simply beckoning him to make use of them as a foil.
So he lied, hoping nobody would ever discover out that he knew he’d examined optimistic for COVID-19 the day earlier than. As a result of that might be embarrassing. It could be inconvenient. Worst of all, it might present the nation precisely what sort of human being he was.