True to form, President Trump used Twitter and his recent, clearly very serious case of COVID-19 to once again politicize the pandemic and tell his followers "Don't be afraid of COVID."
Did we expect anything less of this president, even if he isn't out of the woods by any medical expert's opinion, than to use himself as an example of strength in his battle against this virus that has proven deadly to to over 210,000 Americans?
As the New York Times reports, Trump was preparing to leave Walter Reed medical center at 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, and wanted to make the announcement on Twitter. After Trump received several experimental treatments after having below-normal blood-oxygen levels last week, he was apparently on the mend and able to return to the White House, which has its own medical suite.
Trump's personal physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, told the press that the president was not "out of the woods" yet, but that he "met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria."
So, Trump took the opportunity to tell the gullible that this potentially deadly infection was nothing to fear and "Don’t let it dominate your life."
Are you telling the relatives of 210,000 Americans who have died of #COVID19 not to be afraid? Please tell everyone the truth once and for all, this is serious & #WearAMask You didn’t and got infected.— Carlos del Rio (@CarlosdelRio7) October 5, 2020
The typical bit of Trumpian theater was immediately denounced by Democrats, and will mostly likely come back to bite the president in the ass like so many things he's said against the advice of experts and advisors — especially if his condition worsens at all in the coming days. And many people should be rightly appalled that Trump is refusing to use this opportunity to admit he may have been wrong about mask-wearing and the infectiousness of this disease that has killed so many around the world.
Former presidential candidate Julian Castro responded saying, "More than 200,000 American lives have been lost to Covid-19. The president himself and countless staff have been infected. Yet, nine months into the pandemic, the president’s advice is ‘don’t be afraid of Covid.’"
Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who lost her father to COVID-19, writes, “‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’ is an evil thing to say to those of us who lost our loved ones to Covid 19.” She added, "This man is unfit to be President, he lacks the compassion and humanity it takes to lead our country."
“Don’t be afraid of Covid” is an evil thing to say to those of us who lost our loved ones to Covid 19.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 5, 2020
This man is unfit to be President, he lacks the compassion and humanity it takes to lead our country. https://t.co/7rSzVyuVK3
Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown tweeted that someone with access to the level of medical care of a president should not be offering advice to Americans without that kind of access. Senator Chris Murphy echoed that tweeting, "Don’t be afraid, says the guy with a team of a dozen doctors, access to experimental treatments that no one else gets, a four room hospital suite, who lives in a house with top doctors on site 24/7. All of which is provided to him for free because he refuses to pay taxes."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on MSNBC around the same time that Trump's tweet went out, speaking about how the latest House coronavirus bill will extend aid to communities of color that have been disproportionately affected by the virus. And she pointed out that Trump became infected because he refused to follow the rules recommended by his own scientists.
We must ensure that Americans have access to the testing, tracing and treatment that they need to make it through this crisis – especially communities of color, which have been so disproportionately affected by this pandemic. #MSNBCLive pic.twitter.com/VMwDUS1nsV— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) October 5, 2020
But White House reporter Maggie Haberman reported on The Daily podcast on Monday, Trump's discharge from Walter Reed is almost certainly being driven by two things besides sound medical advice: political optics and Trump's own hatred of hospitals.
The president has almost certainly gone through a scary four or five days, and the very fact that he was receiving the experimental steroid treatment dexamethasone suggested that his condition was in the serious category of COVID cases — and he was getting that treatment on Saturday and perhaps into Sunday.
It remains unclear what courses of treatment will continue once Trump returns to the White House. Dr. Conley tried to obfuscate with reporters several times about whether the president was on oxygen during his hospital stay — though it was fairly clear that he was on Friday and possibly Saturday as well.
Photo by Tia Dufour/The White House via Getty Images