Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus

New York Times
October 2, 2020The president’s result came after he spent months playing down the severity of the outbreak that has killed more than 207,000 in the United States and hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

WASHINGTON — President Trump said early Friday morning that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus, throwing the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter shortly before 1 a.m. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

The president’s physician said Mr. Trump was “well” without saying whether he was experiencing symptoms and added that the president would stay isolated in the White House for now.

“The president and first lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,” the physician, Sean P. Conley, said in a statement without saying how long that would be. “Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.”

Other aides to the president would not say whether he was experiencing symptoms, but people at the White House noticed that his voice sounded raspy on Thursday, although it was not clear that it was abnormal for him, especially given the number of campaign rallies he has been holding lately.

Mr. Trump received the test result after one of his closest advisers, Hope Hicks, became infected, bringing the virus into his inner circle and underscoring the difficulty of containing it even with the resources of a president. Mr. Trump has for months played down the severity of the virus and told a political dinner just Thursday night that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

Mr. Trump’s positive test result could pose immediate difficulties for the future of his campaign against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic challenger, with just 33 days before the election on Nov. 3. Even if Mr. Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will have to withdraw from the campaign trail and stay isolated in the White House for an unknown period of time. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all.

Even if he does not become seriously ill, the positive test could prove devastating to his political fortunes given his months of diminishing the seriousness of the pandemic even as the virus was still ravaging the country and killing about 1,000 more Americans every day. He has repeatedly predicted the virus “is going to disappear,” asserted that it was under control and insisted that the country was “rounding the corner” to the end of the crisis. He has scorned scientists, saying they were mistaken on the severity of the situation.

Mr. Trump has refused for months to wear a mask in public on all but a few occasions and repeatedly questioned their effectiveness while mocking Mr. Biden for wearing one. Trailing in the polls, the president in recent weeks increasingly held crowded campaign events in defiance of public health guidelines and sometimes state and local governments.

When he accepted the nomination on the final day of the Republican National Convention, he invited more than 1,000 supporters to the South Lawn of the White House and has held multiple rallies around the country since, often with hundreds and even thousands of people jammed into tight spaces, many if not most without masks.

A positive test will undercut his effort to change the subject away from a pandemic that polls show most Americans believe he has mishandled and onto political terrain he considers more favorable. Mr. Trump has sought to focus voter attention instead on violence in cities, his Supreme Court nomination, mail-in ballots and Mr. Biden’s relationship with liberals.

Aside from the campaign, the symbolism of an infected president could rattle governors and business owners trying to assess when and how to reopen or keep open shops, schools, parks, beaches, restaurants, factories and other workplaces. Eager to restore a semblance of normal life before the election, Mr. Trump has dismissed health concerns to demand that schools reopen, college football resume play and businesses resume full operation.

In his eighth decade of life, Mr. Trump belongs to the age category deemed most vulnerable to the virus. Eight out of every 10 deaths attributed to it in the United States have been among those 65 and older.

Mr. Trump has been resistant to permitting details of his health to be made public, raising questions about his overall condition. He made an unannounced trip in November to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that prompted speculation that he had an undisclosed medical ailment, but the White House insisted that he simply underwent routine tests, without revealing what they were or what they showed.

But while Mr. Trump has been reported to have high cholesterol and tips the scale at 243 pounds, which is considered obese for his height, the president’s doctor pronounced Mr. Trump in “very good health” last year after his last full medical checkup. And, unlike many of those who have succumbed to the virus, he will have the best medical care available.

A variety of people around Mr. Trump were previously infected by the virus, including most recently Robert C. O’Brien, his national security adviser who had a mild case before returning to work in August. Others infected include Kimberly Guilfoyle, his son’s girlfriend; a White House valet; Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary; as well as some Secret Service agents, campaign advance workers and a Marine in the president’s helicopter unit. Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate and political ally of Mr. Trump’s, died of the coronavirus in July after attending the president’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., where Mr. Cain, like many in the arena, was seen not wearing a mask at least part of the time.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly expressed confidence in public about his own health, saying he was not concerned about being exposed despite his various close calls. “I’m on a stage that’s very far away, and so, I’m not at all concerned,” he said last month, brushing off worries about crowded rallies.

Behind the scenes, though, the self-described germophobe was angry in the spring that his valet, who is among those who serve him food, had not been wearing a mask before testing positive, according to people in touch with him. Mr. Trump privately expressed irritation with people who got too close to him.

According to the president, he began taking the hydroxychloroquine anti-malaria drug proactively around this time and later said it caused no adverse effects. In the days after Ms. Miller’s positive test, Mr. Pence opted to stay physically away from Mr. Trump to avoid a possible exposure, while three top public health officials, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who is on the White House’s coronavirus task force, went into some form of self-quarantine.

The White House ordered some employees to work from home and those who came to work to wear masks except when sitting at their desks an appropriate distance from their colleagues. Just as Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence were being tested every day, those coming into proximity to them were subject to daily tests as well, while other White House employees had tests every several days. But those protocols were soon relaxed and most White House officials were rarely seen wearing masks, at least when the president was present.

While the coronavirus is much deadlier than the flu, the vast majority of people infected by it recover, especially if there is no underlying condition, but the threat climbs with age. If Mr. Trump becomes symptomatic, it could take him weeks to recover.

Under the 25th Amendment, a medically incapacitated president has the option of temporarily transferring power to the vice president and can reclaim his authority whenever he deems himself fit for duty.

Since the amendment was ratified in 1967, presidents have done so only three times. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan underwent a colonoscopy and briefly turned over power to Vice President George Bush, although he did not explicitly cite the amendment in doing so. President George W. Bush did invoke the amendment twice in temporarily turning over power to Vice President Dick Cheney during colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007.

Under the Presidential Succession Act, if both Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence were unable to serve, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California would step in. In the spring, the White House said that it had no plan for such an eventuality. “That’s not even something that we’re addressing,” said Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary. “We’re keeping the president healthy. We’re keeping the vice president healthy and, you know, they’re healthy at this moment and they’ll continue to be.”

There is a long history of presidents falling seriously ill while in office, including some afflicted during epidemics. George Washington was feared close to death amid an influenza epidemic during his second year, while Woodrow Wilson became sick during Paris peace talks after World War I with what some specialists and historians believe was the influenza that ravaged the world from 1918 through 1920.

Four presidents have died in office of natural causes: William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding and Franklin D. Roosevelt, while Wilson endured a debilitating stroke and Dwight D. Eisenhower had a heart attack in his first term and a stroke in his second. Four others were assassinated in office: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy.

But such health crises in the White House have been rarer in recent times. Since Reagan was shot in 1981, no president has been known to confront a life-threatening condition while in office.



  1. He will be back to work in notime. In the meantime he can easily perform his job from quarantine. He is a healthy athletic person. No worries.

  2. The chickens are finally coming home to roost. What goes around comes around. Speedy recovery to him but let’s remember that over 200,000 people have died while he played politics with their lives. now only 4 weeks to the election how ironic the that the Coronavirus has disqualified him. Four years of America’s nightmare has come to this. My heart goes out to the families of those 200,000 Americans he could have saved if he was truthful. As they say karma is a big B. He now joins the 7 million Americans who have been infected.

  3. Trump is 74 years old, overweight with big belly, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus. He is not athletic at all unless you consider driving Golf carts athletic. The latest news is that he is already showing symptoms. Mike pence is on stand by incase things go downward.

  4. There should not be any more evidence to tell us all that COVID-19 is not something to take it lightly. I hear the media saying as if the adviser was the spreader but I take that with a grain of salt. People can be carrying the virus and remain asymptomatic but capable of spreading the virus. This virus can make you eat your crow. Boris of the UK was walking around and mingling with people unprotected to show off his machismo against the pandemic. We all know what happened. He is extremely lucky to be alive. He is so humbled by the virus now. Is he not? He was made to eat all his crow of what he said before the virus gave him the ultimate lesson of who the real boss is. The same is happening with our president. Once he was quoted as saying the virus targets only those with underlying conditions. But the president does not have any underlying conditions. If this is not a lesson to us all what else? You among us, you young people among us! You think you’re tough walking around flaunting the mitigating protocols put forward by the experts. In doing so you are endangering your parents and grandparents. You are bringing the virus home to your loved ones. I hope you will listen and mend your deadly ways. This president was supposed to be the most ‘protected’ person in the world. But all the virus needs is just one very small chance. He will be in my family’s prayers that he will come out of it unscathed. Insha’Allah!!!!!
    Stay safe y’all!!!

  5. I hold Trump responsible for the deaths of so many people –208,000 at the present count. Just imagine how many of those would have been alive if he had acted to take defensive measures when he was informed the seriousness of COVID-19. The proof that these 208,000 people died needlessly because of Trump’s misguided policy is that the total deaths in US at this time were less by this same figure compared to last year. Trump knew very well that other countries controlled the spread of the virus by primarily using masks and social distancing. He didn’t want to enforce these protective measures for the simple reason that he thought his re-election bid will be affected. How inhumane it is. The excuse he gave for lack of action is even more unbeievable. According to him It will be trampling on the rights of people to enforce the wearing of masks. How come wearing seat belts when driving is not? To me, this is one of the greatest tragedies that could have been easily under control. Unfortunately it wasn’t.
    I hope by Trump being one of those infected by the virus, people wake up and take it seriously and follow the advice of doctors and curtail the transmission of the virus.

  6. Quote: “…this is one of the greatest tragedies that could have been easily under control.” Unquote by Zewdu Gebre- Hiwet

    Commentary, 2 Oct 2020
    I fully agree with the above quotation and the entire commentary in general.
    The TRAGEDY is that Trump will NEVER learn from the colossal phenomenon which consumed the LIVES of “208, 000 at the present count”.

    Trump is his OWN prisoner for Life due to his natural inherent characteristic. What is so extraordinary is that such a person was able to deceive not only his Republican Party( *) but also the majority of the American Voters. It will remain in the consciousness of the American People in general — FOR EVER. THE END

    (*) Do you remember how Tramp RIDICULED each and every Republican Contenders [2016] with his undisciplined and vulgar intervention, making each of them small against his onslaught????? Will American people learn a lesson? Time will tell.

  7. There is one thing for sure. This incidence is going to influence the outcome of the election for both candidates. The Election Day being exactly a month away and the president to stay in isolation for 12 more days from today, this is going to be very interesting day at the ballot. In any case, do not forget or hesitate to vote and vote your conscience.
    Protect yourself from the pandemic at all times. Stay safe y’all!!!!

  8. In somewhat related story, Europe is being hammered by the pandemic again. Spain, France, UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, you name it they are all being overrun by COVID-19 again. The same is with Israel. Those of you, who think the pandemic is running out of steam, think again. It ain’t gonna go anywhere soon. All these countries have significant number of our Diaspora. I have been looking for a source/website that tallies the numbers of the pandemic among our Diaspora here in the USA, Europe and Oceania. It shows how hopelessly we are divided, gone asunder. We have enough medical experts among us but I don’t see any article by them giving us the best advice they can muster. But I think like any intellectual they have been pulled apart along these ugly divisive lines created by bigots among us. They might have said a word or two to their closed in hommies at their members only speakeasies but that cannot define their duty which is ‘First, to do good, do no harm’. This can be doing good. Until then, I am gonna keep nagging my dear countrymen to the limit of deafness about staying vigilant and safe!!!

  9. ” vote and vote your conscience.” Ittu Aba Farda, October 3, 2020

    May I add one more word >>> “VOTE”?!?! It is NOT a joke!!! AMERICA — the most accommodating country in the WORLD — deserve a sane, humble, educated, experienced LEADER for the wonderful American People, NOT a ……………………….. <<<< choose the words of your choice and be a LESSON to you and, in particular, to educated politicians, for ever.

  10. There you have it. The president has come out swinging. If he comes out of this deadly virus he is going to hit even harder. Both candidates are doing a heck of a job preaching to their choirs but even the polls are not where the usually 10%-15% of voters will cast their ballots. This is going to be an exciting rumble to the finish. In any case, make sure you vote and vote YOUR CONSCIENCE.

    Once upon a time, someone answered a question asking when an election would be held. What election? That may take 3 or 4 decades. May be never! But when it is held it will be fair, natural and not polarizing. That answer was a masterpiece! It deserves the highest prize for literature! Lucky for that genius, his disciples are even crossing the highly fortified border to deliver their sermons. It is awfully quiet in their neck of woods. 30 years of loneliness is taking its tolls!
    O Ethiopia! O My Darling! Allah Has Cast His Grace On Thee! You are telling your former children ‘ Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’ O’ Ethiopia! I’ll keep loving you until my last day on this Good Earth!!!

  11. Make that:

    If he comes out of this deadly virus unscathed…..

    …..but even the polls are sure not where the usually 10%-15% of independent voters will cast their ballots.

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