Seeking to Boost His Campaign, Trump Returns to the White House in an Act of Political Theater
President Donald Trump left the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Monday night, after only 72 hours in the hospital, and then did what a Reality TV President would do. He acted out a carefully scripted piece of political theater designed to demonstrate his strength and boost the ratings of his presidential campaign.
As the media broadcast every moment live, Marine One landed on the South Lawn. Trump stepped out of the helicopter and walked up a flight of stairs to the White House entrance to show his stamina. Flanked by American flags, Trump paused for a photo op in the brightly lit entrance.
First, Trump took off his mask. Close up footage of the president showed that he appeared to be gasping for breath. Then he gave the thumbs up signal, fixed his suit jacket, and made a lengthy salute. Next, he turned and walked into the White House without a mask.
Several staffers waited for him inside, all of them wearing masks. Earlier Trump had tweeted: “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed…some really great drugs & knowledge.”
Really great drugs that are only available to a president. The New York Times reported that Trump received a trio of drugs at the hospital: an experimental antibody drug cocktail from Regeneron, remdesivir, used to treat severe Covid-19 infection, and dexamethasone, a steroid, normally used only with severe Covid patients.
Trump is likely the only patient who has received this combination of drugs. Infectious disease experts have questioned whether this indicates that Trump has a more severe case of the virus, the Times said. The drugs could even be masking his symptoms. Why then would his physicians let Trump leave the hospital? No one really knows.
Trump’s personal physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, has made what Rachel Maddow referred to as “multiple misstatements” and has withheld information about Trump’s health, including when he was infected, how much oxygen he received and when, and the results of his lung scan. Conley is telling the media virtually nothing, obviously at Trump’s direction.
Trump Tries for Political Boost While the West Wing Virus Spreads
Media reports say that Covid-19 is spreading inside the White House.
Trump is “thinking that he’s going to turn the virus into a political plus,” said CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash. But he’s returning “to a White House that’s become a Covid hotspot.”
“The West Wing is experiencing a growing outbreak, with Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, joining the list on Monday of his close aides who have tested positive,” the Times said. Many White House staffers have reportedly left and are working remotely, but anyone who remains could be exposed to the virus.
Trump’s behavior, including his motorcade ride Sunday evening, when he left the hospital to drive-by and wave at supporters, shows no concern for his Secret Service or staff members.
Trump’s Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony to announce his Supreme Court nominee, a practically maskless event with no social distancing, has become a super-spreader resulting in at least eight participants testing positive. To make matters worse, the “White House has decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members” at the event, the Times said.
The fact that Trump and his close supporters and staff members have contracted the virus was likely inevitable. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the importance of wearing masks and even made it known to his staff that masks are not to be worn at the White House.
This was a “byproduct of the recklessness and top-down culture of fear that Mr. Trump created at the White House and throughout his administration,” the Times reported. “If you wanted to make the boss happy, they said, you left the mask at home.”
As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden noted at an NBC Town Hall, “Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think, is responsible for what happens to them.”
Trump Could Have Reinforced a Public Health Safety Message
It could have been different. Trump could have taken this moment to reinforce the message that masks and social distancing are important.
“Public health experts had hoped that President Trump, chastened by his own infection with the coronavirus and the cases that have erupted among his staff, would act decisively to persuade his supporters that wearing masks and social distancing were essential to protecting themselves and their loved ones,” the Times said.
But why would Trump rise to the occasion after he lied to the public, spreading a false narrative that the virus would disappear, when he knew as early as January that the virus was dangerous and would spread rapidly?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Oct. 5 the United States has almost 7.4 million Covid-19 cases and 209,199 deaths. How many lives might have been saved if Trump had acted early to develop and quickly put into effect a nation-wide plan to fight the pandemic?
Every best selling author who has written about this president, including Mary Trump, Michael Cohen, and Bob Woodward, has drawn the same conclusions. Trump is a pathological narcissist who cares only about himself and is unfit for the presidency.
During the NBC News Town Hall, Joe Biden called on Trump to take mask wearing more seriously. As Trump stood in front of the White House entrance and removed his mask, he made his answer clear.