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Community reacts to Trump testing positive for COVID-19

Photo used with permission from The White House/Wikimedia Commons
President Donald Trump greets supporters while driving outside the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Trump was transferred to the hospital Oct. 2 after testing positive for COVID-19.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced via twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump contracted COVID-19 Oct. 2. They are both quarantining just four weeks away from the presidential election. 

Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland Oct. 2 after experiencing “mild symptoms” of COVID-19, according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. 

The White House said that the decision to transfer Trump to the hospital was a “precautionary” measure. Later on Friday, Trump tweeted, “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!” 

Owen Humphries (’22) said that the White House is being extremely unclear about Trump’s physical state.

“They’re being very vague, and sometimes it’s a little contradictory,” he said. “They’re saying he’s completely fine, and then he gets airlifted to a hospital for a couple of days.”

Furthermore, Social Studies Teacher Rebecca Mason said that isolating will affect Trump’s campaign. 

It is very difficult for his campaign, he will not be able to travel regardless, even if he is feeling fine, he will have to quarantine.

— Social Studies Teacher Rebecca Mason

“It is very difficult for his campaign, he will not be able to travel regardless, even if he is feeling fine, he will have to quarantine,” she said. “If he doesn’t [quarantine] it will just seem like warrant disregard for everyone else … that would hurt immensely because then he’s hurting people who might vote for him.”

Trump’s campaign schedule, which includes visits to numerous states including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Minnesota and North Carolina were either canceled or postponed in the past week. 

Usually, Trump would look to his advisers, family and campaign officials to carry out rallies and other tasks as shown in the past. However, many of them, such as his campaign manager Bill Stepien, have also tested positive and are quarantining as well.

Connor Eaton (’21) said that aside from the health ramifications, Trump’s campaign will remain stable. 

“I don’t think it’s necessarily going to affect his campaign other than the inability to do those sort of last-minute rallies in swing states,” he said. “Looking at the polls, looking at the approval ratings, it doesn’t seem to have that much effect.”

In contrast, Humphries said that the month before the election is crucial for influencing the polls. 

“It is really key for him to pick up those undecided voters, especially in the swing states, and catch up on that lead that Joe Biden appears to have,” he said. “Having to take two weeks off of his presidential trail to deal with COVID won’t help.”

The postponement of the election has been extremely polarized, so I don’t necessarily see it being delayed.

— Connor Eaton ('21)

Furthermore, the next presidential debate is scheduled to take place in Miami, Florida Oct. 15. The format is set to differ from the first presidential debate – it will follow a town hall setting where both candidates are asked questions from an audience. 

However, it’s now difficult to determine how this debate will play out, or if it will at all. The debate could be conducted virtually, but this would all depend on the immediate health of the President at the time. 

While Trump’s self-isolation period has and will impact the elections, the only way for the election to be delayed is up to Congress. The U.S. presidential election is held by law every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, this year falling on Nov. 3. 

Mason said she doesn’t believe that the election will be delayed or postponed. 

“I don’t think there is much chance at all of the election being moved, because in order to do that I believe they would have to go through the House, and the House is overwhelmingly Democratic,” she said. “I don’t think they’ll be able to get that legislation through.”

Similarly, Eaton said that the election will proceed as long as Trump’s health remains stable.

“The postponement of the election has been extremely polarized, so I don’t necessarily see it being delayed,” he said. “In the case that Trump is in critical care within the two-week window of the election, then I suspect there will be some sort of reconsideration of that, but right now it seems as though he is recovering in a reasonably expedient manner.”

Furthermore, another question surrounding Trump’s sickness is what would happen if he were incapacitated. 

The 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that a president may hand over power to the Vice President if unable to carry out responsibilities, in this case, Vice President Mike Pence would assume this role. After recovery, Trump would regain his position. 

Moreover, the public has consistently criticized Trump for how he has handled COVID-19 in the U.S. Many U.S. citizens remember Trump’s dismissive attitude towards the severity of the virus, as he admitted that he always wanted to publicly “play down” the threat of coronavirus in an interview with Bob Woodward. 

Even recently at the presidential debate Sept. 29, Trump mocked Democratic Candidate Joe Biden for frequently wearing his mask and hosting smaller-sized rallies than him. Trump said,”I don’t wear a mask like him, every time you see him, he’s got a mask.” 

Mason said that Trump handled the virus poorly.  

“It’s very clear, at least in my mind, that Donald Trump has not done anything correctly in managing this virus,” she said. 

In contrast, Eaton said that there were both positives and negatives shown in Trump’s handling of the virus. 

“As far as travel restrictions are concerned, he was right on it,” he said. “He proposed a China travel ban in February when it was still being considered xenophobic by House Democrats. As far as using the executive office to be quite stringent with respect to a mask mandate, for example, or just urging state legislatures to be more strict in COVID measures, I don’t think he has done a particularly good job.”

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About the Contributor
Sajah Ali
Sajah Ali, Sports Editor: Online
Sajah Ali (’22) is the Sports Editor: Online for The Standard. This is her third year as a part of the newspaper, and she enjoys writing on a variety of topics specifically in the News, Sports and Opinions sections. She likes journalism because it gives her the opportunity to learn more about the ASL community and inform others at the same time. Outside of The Standard, she enjoys playing soccer, participating in the Social Justice Council, and mentoring kids in the SHINE program. 

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    Peggy ElhadjOct 5, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Great article Sajah!