Deep in our hearts, we knew that it would be too much to ask that Donald Trump, after testing positive for COVID-19, would have a change of mind in the way he has responded to the virus as a pandemic, or that he would begin to take the virus seriously. And now, many Americans, even the best among us, are also finding it too much to ask to offer thoughts and prayers, healing energy, or any other expression of wishes for Donald Trump to get well soon.
Maybe it would be different if Trump hadn’t downplayed the coronavirus for 10 months and allowed, without concern, more than 200,000 Americans to die. “It is what it is,” he said.
Maybe if he hadn’t politicized face masks, repeatedly made fun of them, and encouraged his supporters not to wear them, it would have been easier to root for him in the first moments when we learned he was being hospitalized with the virus.
If Trump hadn’t encouraged people to rebel against public health guidelines and reinforced the idea that such guidelines were “tyranny” instead of common sense, maybe searches on the word, “schadenfreude” wouldn’t have shot up by 30,500 percent (according to Merriam-Webster) in the morning hours after learning of Trump’s positive COVID-19 result.
Maybe if Donald Trump hadn’t encouraged thousands of his supporters to gather closely together, maskless, to distribute droplets among themselves as they shouted their fealty to him, he wouldn’t have disgusted other Americans with how little he valued his supporters’ lives in comparison to their adulation; or how he places even less value on the lives of Americans who are not his supporters.
Maybe if he hadn’t participated, in person, in a presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden when he almost certainly knew he had been exposed to COVID-19, we’d wish Trump a good recovery as if he were a decent person.
We don’t have to wish Donald Trump ill, or pray that he suffers. We can just wish nothing at all. Still, it might be different, but for the grief, suffering, and loss that has resulted from his failure to lead during the coronavirus pandemic, and his callousness toward it.
Maybe if Trump hadn’t waited to talk about the coronavirus until it was him who became infected.
Maybe if he hadn’t carelessly exposed his secret service personnel to his sickness while he forced them to sit with him in a hermetically sealed car for the sake of a drive-by photo-op. Maybe if he hadn’t also disregarded the safety of the Marine One pilots who flew him to and from Walter Reed Medical Center; or his entire staff, from cleaning crew to senior aides— and their families.
Maybe if he had been honest with Americans from the beginning about his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Maybe if he hadn’t stood on the White House steps after demanding to leave the hospital, and taken off his mask for a photo-op, carelessly exposing more people in the White House to the coronavirus.
And maybe if he weren’t preparing to take health care away from millions of Americans by arguing the unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court.
Many Americans, whether wishing Donald Trump well, experiencing some schadenfreude about his diagnosis, or wishing him nothing at all, were still hopeful that, at last, Donald Trump would be forced to acknowledge the seriousness of COVID-19. Maybe a seed of empathy or caring would sprout from Trump’s firsthand experience with the virus. And surely, we thought, he’d begin urging people to wear masks and be cautious.
Instead, any hopefulness we may have had was met with Donald Trump’s tweet as he prepared to leave Walter Reed Medical Center: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
As if a helicopter ride, a fun drive-by photo-op, and a jaunt through the hospital with treatments that aren’t even available to other Americans, were in any way similar to the tragic, painful, debilitating experiences many other Americans have had with COVID-19.
COVID-19 cases are rising within the White House. The president has instructed aides to keep quiet about their positive test results, should they have them. He will no doubt return to mocking mask-wearing, and though CDC guidelines demand that he isolate himself for at least 10 days, he already has plans to return to the campaign trail. Trump has learned nothing, and his supporters, in turn, have learned nothing. COVID-19 infections and deaths will continue to escalate.
We don’t have to wish an ill fate on Donald Trump. We don’t even have to wish him anything at all. But, even following his positive COVID-19 test results, it’s difficult to muster any well wishes for Donald Trump.
Donald Trump to leave hospital after being treated for COVID-19 |
Sky News [2020-10-05]
Here’s what you need to know about President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis | CNBC [2020-10-05]