Presidential Crisis in a Global Pandemic

Friday, October 1, President Trump announced in a tweet his and First Lady Trump’s positive diagnosis for COVID-19, sharing,

Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!

– President Trump: @realDonaldTrump

Since President Trump’s announcement, his COVID-19 diagnosis and status has been questioned in regards to the date and the president’s knowledge of his diagnosis and the status of his health in the days following his diagnosis. “As a precautionary measure recommended by the president’s physician,” Dr. Sean Conley, President Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday evening (NBC, 2020). Saturday morning, Dr. Conley reported President Trump’s 72-hour span into his diagnosis despite the public’s knowledge of his diagnosis only 36 hours as of Saturday morning.

Along with Dr. Conley’s reports, mystery surrounding the exact details of the president’s health status stem from aides and the White House, especially as it concerns the timeline of President Trump’s diagnosis and treatment. For instance, Dr. Conley further disclosed the president’s health condition had “improved” despite experiencing “significant oxygen drops on Friday and Saturday and was given dexamethasone — a steroid that is typically reserved only for severely ill coronavirus patients” (Hawkins et al., 2020).

President Trump then, on Sunday, October 4, went out in a motorcade to greet supporters, in disregard of health and safety precautions such as quarantining to avoid further exposure and contagion. Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, expressed,

This is insanity. Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecesary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die.

Dr. James Phillips

Such sentiments, as well as others, call into question President Trump’s mentality about the virus and how many others, including high-level government officials, have been exposed to the virus since knowledge of the president’s positive diagnosis. Significant developments include:

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