COVID-19 has once again crept into Donald Trump’s personal circle. You may recall back in early March, while the state of New York was already in a state of emergency, Donald Trump and his entourage went to Mar-a-Lago for a weekend of golf and conga lines, rubbing elbows with Brazil’s president and Fox News personalities, as well as top Senate sycophant, Lindsey Graham. Graham, an aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and others tested positive after partying together at Mar-a-Lago.
Now another person close to Trump has tested positive, this time a member of the U.S. Navy who serves as a personal valet to Trump inside the White House and is responsible for serving Donald Trump his meals. (Side note: How weird is it there is an elite Navy unit dedicated to being the president’s butlers?)
CNN reports Trump was “upset” at the news and things were “hitting the fan” inside the White House. Unlike some of the earlier exposures, this member of the U.S. Navy was said to be symptomatic when tested.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said both Pence and Trump have since tested negative. The rub is the rapid tests for COVID-19 have 14.8% rate of false negatives. So, a negative test today does not necessarily mean a negative test tomorrow.
Knowing a member of Trump’s close circle has tested positive, let’s revisit his Tuesday trip to the Honeywell plant in Arizona where they have been making medical grade N95 masks for healthcare workers. Photos and video emerged of Trump walking around the facility talking to workers, all of whom were wearing masks, per company policy.
But, there was Trump and his team, all refusing to wear masks. And now we know Donald Trump and his crew potentially exposed these workers to COVID-19. NBC News has confirmed what we all suspected, Trump is refusing to wear a mask because he thinks it makes him look "ridiculous." This is, of course, an extreme example of both narcissism and toxic masculinity. Donald Trump’s ego will not allow him to show any weakness and in his narcissistic, toxic mind, masks are for the weak among us, not tough guys like Trump.
Even on Wednesday, the same day Trump’s valet tested positive, there he was in the White House for a photo op with medical personnel. None of whom were wearing masks, none of whom were practicing proper social distancing. There is no doubt they were pressured to relax these guidelines because of the president’s direction. No question.
NBC also reports he thinks it will stymie efforts to “reopen” and therefore will hurt his reelection chances.
Trump has told advisers that he believes wearing one would “send the wrong message,” according to one administration and two campaign officials not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.
The president said doing so would make it seem like he is preoccupied with health instead of focused on reopening the nation’s economy — which his aides believe is the key to his reelection chances in November.
Today, America passed a very grim milestone as the death toll has surpassed 75,000, up from 70,000 just two days ago. Donald Trump’s refusal to exercise every precaution, both in his own personal circle and in his messaging to the American people is why this body count is so high. His refusal to wear a mask or to allow those around him to wear a mask endangers them all. And his refusal to push for strict reopening guidelines endangers us all.
Four more years of Trump? I’m not sure the nation can sustain four more months.