By Lia Hauser
After criticizing his opponent at the first presidential debate on Tuesday September 29th for wearing “the largest mask you’ve ever seen,” President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19. Trump’s public appearances sans-mask have sparked controversy consistently throughout the pandemic that has overtaken life in the United States.
Forbes has broken down a definitive timeline of Trump’s COVID case with the information that has been made public. This source is truly the only one you need to form an opinion on the irresponsibility of this administration. On September 26th, Trump announced the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett at the White House Rose Garden in front of a large crowd of people. On par with the beliefs of his administration, there was little social distancing or mask usage and a portion of the event was conducted indoors. This goes against most state mandates and everything that medical professionals have shared about safety regarding the Coronavirus. Trump continued his rally circuit and even prepared for the first Presidential Debate with a group of advisors, none of whom wore masks. Then came his ironic mockery of masks at the Presidential Debate where reports say he did not wear a mask in the crowd.
The very next day, Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s advisors, began experiencing COVID symptoms and isolated herself on Air Force 1. Airplanes are incredibly enclosed spaces and heighten the chance for transmission. Following her isolation, Hicks tested positive for Coronavirus and the President continued with a fundraiser in New Jersey, knowing he has been directly exposed to COVID. The blatant disrespect for the American people is disturbing on the part of the President. He was already endangering himself and others by not wearing a mask on several occasions, but there is a new level level of disregard when knowing you are exposed to the virus you willingly expose others – especially for a campaign fundraiser while you happen to be a billionaire that pays less in taxes than the average American, but I digress.
This set off a chain of events that most people are acquainted with: Donald Trump tests positive for Coronavirus and was rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center under the guise of precaution. With reports of Trump’s oxygen levels dropping, many began to wonder if he would be able to survive being that he is a member of several at risk groups. But being a billionaire and the President of the United States, Donald Trump was given the top care in the country for a disease that he did not give relevance until he contracted it. He was given a STEM-cell cocktail from Regeneron, which is yet to be approved for use by the FDA, along with steroids and other care.
After being in the hospital for only a few days, Trump boasted publicly about his recovery and encouraged Americans to “get back out there” and not let coronavirus run their lives, using his bout with COVID to downplay its effects. Trump and his administration fail to realize that the average American will never have access to the healthcare he had. However, President Trump openly supports the use of Regeneron’s medicine, especially on Twitter, where he refers to it as a cure. Calculations say the care President Trump received would cost the average American $100,000 which prompts more questions about a hot topic: healthcare. In a discussion with a reporter, Senator Bernie Sanders discussed how President Trump’s Fox News interview actually makes a case for Universal Healthcare, a cause Sanders has long fought for. Trump says, “It’s a lot easier for me than someone who doesn’t have access to a doctor so easily where it’s a big deal to see a doctor.” Sanders used this as a talking point to discuss how Universal Healthcare is not radical and how Trump inadvertently pointed out the problem with the system he prefers to operate under. In his October 7th video on Twitter he says, “I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president,” which is an oxymoronic statement for someone who promotes privatized healthcare. This furthers Sanders’ point about Trump’s accidental promotion of Universal Healthcare. It seems that he doesn’t understand the very platform he is against.
What does this mean for President Trump and his administration in the middle of an election? While his more radical supporters will not see it, Trump has exposed himself here as ignorant, selfish, and hypocritical. There was never a moment in Trump’s COVID diagnoses that he or his administration made a decision to benefit, or at all protect, the American people. Even after his supposed recovery, he had photo ops and promotional videos without a mask and continues to discount the virus by making comments that he “must be immune.” The message he is sending is more dangerous than ever. In a country where we cannot all receive the same care he did, Donald Trump continues to discount a worldwide pandemic that has killed thousands of his own countrymen without remorse. This outrageous behavior likely pushed more young people to make their voices heard on election day, which could be one of the only positive impacts Trump’s COVID diagnoses will have.