That doesn’t mean it’s good advice to “Go Play!”
Yet this seems not that far from the approach the President is suggesting following his hospitalization for COVID-19.
Trump Tweeting shortly before he was discharged:
We can’t hold it against the President that he’s so excited to be getting out of the hospital. Everybody’s always excited to get out of the hospital. And we can even see where the apparent success of administering the President all the latest therapeutics and experimental treatments would give some vulnerable people more hope.
At the same time, in our little neck of the woods, as soon as the President was hospitalized, mask wearing went up to 100% from what we could see. But we can see that newest Tweet quickly reversing that.
Trump followed that Tweet up with a little video clip, where he repeated all that same stuff, and then added some nonsense about how he had to be reckless: “I stood out front. I led.” So that’s now part of the new message—that’s really an old message—too. He was right all along to downplay COVID-19. Proof? He survived.
In the background, the White House is busy countermanding the FDA in order to get a vaccine out before Election Day. And according to the New York Times, they’re also not trying to do any contact tracing for people who attended a White House event along with several staffers who afterwards turned out to be infected, because why would they? That would only invariably mean more cases, as the President always says. During the time Trump was in the hospital, 134,000 more Americans were diagnosed with COVID-19, and cases are rising, particularly in the Midwest.
We seem to be headed to a place where the President’s singular experience with the disease becomes the basis for his campaign messaging moving forward. Especially since it reinforces his original instinct: downplay Coronavirus. It’s not that big a deal. And now, who would know better than him?
And that’ll be the key to sweeping him back into the White House for another 4 years.
Compare that to Joe Biden:
“This is not a matter of politics. It’s a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically. We have to do our part to be responsible….So, be Patriotic. It’s not about being a tough guy, it’s about doing your part. Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, but also protects those around you.”
At the start of the pandemic, Trump liked to refer to himself as a “wartime President”. But that never caught on. Now, he’s emerged from a battle with the disease. And we all know how angry people get when someone calls someone who’s just come off a battlefield “a loser” or “a sucker”.
Of course, playing down COVID-19 even more now is a risky bet for the President to make. Because it assumes he is fully cured, or at least well on his way. Which he very possibly is, or very possibly might not be. And also that none of the many people in his entourage who’ve tested positive will get very sick or die.
But it’s a winnable bet. And the President tends to have uncanny good luck when he needs it.