President Trump and First Lady test positive for COVID-19


President Trump boards Air Force One days before testing positive for coronavirus. He had spent the day in meetings before leaving to host a Great American Comeback event in Bemidji, MN (Photo by White House).

Cole Sitilides, Managing Editor of Design

In a tweet that went out early Friday morning, October 2, the president confirmed that he and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for Covid-19. This occurred after White House aide Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted at 12:54 am.

The president, age 74, had told the press late on the night of October 1 that after receiving Hicks’ test results, he and his wife, age 50, began the quarantine process. The campaign rally scheduled for Friday night in Sanford, FL, as well as the two Wisconsin rallies scheduled for Saturday have since been canceled.

“[President Trump] takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

Covid-19, which has killed more than 207,000 Americans already, poses an especially high threat to people over the age of 65 or those with underlying health conditions that could exacerbate the virus’ effects. At Trump’s age and weight, he is at a statistically higher risk of becoming seriously unwell. Uncertainty about the country’s leadership has emerged, including a provision by the 25th Amendment stating that should the president declare himself unable to perform his duties, the Vice President may serve as acting president.

In a statement, White House physician Sean Conley responded—though somewhat vaguely—to these concerns. “The president and first lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,” Conley said. “Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.”

In addition to uncertainty, criticism has arisen surrounding Trump’s alleged minimization of the virus’s severity throughout the past several months. The latest instance was Tuesday evening’s debate, when he mocked former Vice President Joe Biden for consistently wearing a mask in public.

“I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said about Biden during the debate. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” The first family, with the exception of Melania, all chose not to wear masks while sitting front-row at the debate.

The president’s own view on wearing a mask up until this point has been unclear at best. While other national figures like Mitch McConell and Nancy Pelosi have been outspoken about the need for Americans to wear masks and have modeled the behavior persistently, the head of state has been a bit hazier about his stance on the matter.

The question is not whether the Trumps’ coronavirus contraction affects the campaign, but how. Will the sitting president be able to use it to his advantage? Or will the illness weaken his image beyond repair? Either way, it’s a curveball in the 2020 election that no one saw coming.