Now that everyone is trying to figure out how and when the Commander in Chief has become the Infector in Chief, I have to contribute my two cents to the conversation and tell you what I think went on.
What we know is that on Wednesday, the day after the debate, Trump flew out to Minnesota for a rally with a crowd of roughly 3,000, even though he stated at the debate that his rallies were drawing 35,000 people or more. On the way back to DC from the rally, Hope Hicks began to experience viral symptoms to the point that she had to be isolated on Air Force One.
Allegedly, Trump wasn’t tested again until after he returned from a fundraiser at his Bedminster club on Thursday evening, even though he had been in close, unprotected contact to Hope Hicks both before and after the Minnesota event. The Thursday evening test allegedly showed that Trump had contracted the virus at some point in time.
By Friday morning, Trump was experiencing fever, hoarseness, fatigue and was already receiving ‘supplementary oxygen’ which means he was clearly in harm’s way. He managed to walk from the White House to the helicopter, but this was the last time that he moved under his own steam in full public view.
On Saturday, the whole made-for-TV drama began to unwind. Trump’s personal physician made a brief statement about his patient’s condition, stating that he was ‘feeling better’ and was ‘doing well.’ Then Trump’s staff chief, Mark Meadows, walked over to the reporters and told them that, contrary to the rosy picture painted by the doctor, Trump’s condition was “concerning’ and the next 48 hours would be “critical’ in terms of evaluating the course and outcome of the disease.
But the moment which really threw the whole phony script into the wastebasket was when Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, stated that Trump had tested positive “72 hours” prior to the time when the press conference took place. Which means that Trump was infected on Wednesday but still met with a group of donors at Bedminster the following day.
Who knows what’s going on? Numerous media reports are now circulating that Trump’s video showing him working at Walter Reed might have been made at the White House before he left. And the fact that more people who attended the White House ceremony introducing Amy Barrett – the count is now at least 9 including 3 Senators – have tested positive only adds to the messaging mess.
The picture above is how Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) behaved at the White House event. Which is how most of the people who were at Trump’s Minnesota rally were protecting themselves from the virus; i.e., not wearing masks.
But here’s the real kicker to all this: After the rally in Duluth, a local GOP politician, Jason Lewis, announced that he was going to self-quarantine for 14 days because he had stood next to Trump and shaken his hands during the event. He didn’t have any symptoms, but “out of an abundance of caution” he was going to stay at home.
I heard the phrase, ‘an abundance of caution’ from four different members of Trump’s staff, including Barbie McEnany who trotted out the phrase when she first announced Trump’s trip to Walter Reed but somehow neglected to mention that he was already finding it difficult to breathe.
Here’s what I think is going on. We have no idea when Trump first tested positive for Covid-19. But I’m willing to take the short odds that the White House wasn’t going to mention the infection until and unless Trump exhibited symptoms that couldn’t be overlooked.
Remember – many people test positive and then become active carriers and spreaders of this virus even though they don’t necessarily become ‘ill’ themselves. The whole point of doing a self-quarantine is to make sure that you don’t transmit the germs to someone else even though you feel fine.
In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that right around the same time I figured out this scenario, David Axelrod said the same thing last night on CNN. Oh well, sometimes great minds…
The good news is that a majority of Americans believe that Trump wouldn’t be sitting in Walter Reed today if he had worn a mask. Let’s just hope that all those folks remember to vote.