Yesterday, Allahpundit examined the President’s decision to go ahead and get tested for the coronavirus and the potential implications of that choice, both medical and political. While we were told the results would be available “in a few days,” barely 24 hours later the results were back, so I wanted to take a fresh look at those issues now that we’re on the back end of the event. But just so we don’t keep anyone who hasn’t heard in suspense, the results were negative, so Trump has dodged a metaphorical bullet this time, particularly when you consider all of the high-profile people who visited Mar-a-Lago and subsequently tested positive. (NBC News)
President Donald Trump tested negative for the coronavirus, his doctor announced Saturday.
Trump had taken the test Friday to determine whether he has the virus and said it would take a “day or two” for the results to come back from the lab.
“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom free,” his physician, Sean P. Conley, said in a statement.
Are we really surprised that the President isn’t infected? As the media has always loved to say, Trump is a well-known germaphobe. He was washing his hands constantly long before anyone had heard of COVID-19. He’s probably losing a layer of skin per day from the scrubbing at this point.
Circling back to some of Allahpundit’s questions, one of the first concerned the optics of getting tested in the first place. I agree that he’s opened himself up to inevitable media criticism for being a person showing no symptoms using up one of a limited number of test kits. But at the same time, he’s someone who is constantly in meetings with tons of people… meetings that frequently can not be avoided. Plus, it’s now been confirmed that several people he met with recently have tested positive. It would have been just as irresponsible to not get tested and continue with his schedule of meetings and events. In other words, CNN was going to trash him whether he got the test or he didn’t. Put another way, this is a day ending in a Y.
Allahpundit also opined that the White House probably wouldn’t tell us if Trump tested positive. While I could understand that being a natural impulse for any political strategists on the team, I have to disagree. That never would have worked. Imagine the quandary they would be facing if the test had come back positive after publicly announcing that he would be tested. They would have been faced with two choices. One would be to say nothing. That would hold for four or maybe five days tops if they blamed it on backed up conditions at the lab. After that, the press would start filling in the blanks themselves and CNN would start the “Trump Death Watch” clock ticking away in their chyron 24/7.
The other option would be to lie about it and say that he was negative. But as Allahpundit pointed out, the guy is in his seventies, one of the demographics hardest hit by COVID-19. His odds of shaking it off with no visible symptoms are pretty low. What do they say to the public when he suddenly starts going into coughing fits and missing meetings? No… I just don’t see it. They were always going to tell us the results of the test.
Assuming we’re done worrying about the President falling ill, what about the rest of us? By this point, whether you happen to be one of Trump’s supporters or critics, I think we can all fairly say that we didn’t get out ahead of this thing fast enough. I’m not talking so much about the travel bans, “social distancing” and all the rest. There was such a lack of reliable information (not to mention a healthy supply of CCP misinformation) about the virus when it was first breaking out in China that the impulse to not rush into drastic measures and start a panic was understandable.
No, the area where we clearly dropped the ball was not moving early and aggressively to see how fast testing kits could be developed and massively deployed. Also, the lack of respirators at hospitals is probably going to become critical soon and there should have been an earlier effort to start addressing that and mitigating the eventual damage. And, of course, there’s the question of getting the vaccine ready for deployment. We’re going to need more than a quarter of a billion doses in a short period of time. Every day lost in that effort will wind up being costly.
It’s too soon to start assigning grades as to how well the White House handled this crisis. (And yes… at this point there’s really no other word for it.) If we come out the other side without a massive death toll and the economy rebounds relatively quickly, Trump will probably deserve a fairly good grade. If not, well… he’s the captain of the ship. And you know who gets blamed when it hits an iceberg.