The word lunacy is derived from the ancient notion that the full moon can cause madness. Last night’s full harvest moon rose as Donald Trump was getting the results from his and Melania’s COVID-19 tests, taken that day after Hope Hicks was diagnosed with the coronavirus. The scene in the past 24 hours in the White House has been panic, with two thoughts competing for dominance: One, who is going to be diagnosed next and two, how the hell do we spin this, 32 days out from the election? Wall Street Journal:
White House aides were rattled by the developments and alarmed by the absence of internal communication, people familiar with the discussions said. One White House official described the mood as “hair on fire.” Aides texted each other to ask if they were healthy and whether they had been tested.
White House officials are discussing restricting access to the president in the future or testing all officials in the West Wing, rather than only those who come into contact with the president, though no decisions have been made, the people said.
Some people close to President Trump tested positive for Covid-19, and others negative. Here is a list of key officials.
First Lady Melania Trump
White House adviser Hope Hicks
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
Vice President Mike Pence
Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
HHS Secretary Alex Azar
Attorney General William Barr
White House adviser Dan Scavino
White House adviser Jared Kushner
White House adviser Ivanka Trump
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany
Source: White House, Justice Department, HHS, Treasury
It couldn’t be determined whether other White House officials who had come into contact with the president planned to quarantine. Some aides in the West Wing were working from home, and all East Wing staffers were directed to work from home until further notice, an administration official said.
Mark Meadows proudly trumpeted, “We have a president that is not only on the job but will remain on the job.” That’s simply not reality. The man has a fever and he’s being treated as we speak with an experimental drug.
I would not expect this White House to be any more truthful about Trump’s actual condition than it has been about anything else. This silence from Trump speaks volumes. The Atlantic:
The longer Trump stays out of view, the less anyone will take Pence’s word for it [that the first couple are “both well.”] The president has made himself such a steady presence in American lives, tweeting through every controversy, at all hours, and never missing a chance to weigh in—that the roughly 14 hours of silence (as of this writing) feel monumental. (When Trump went 46 hours without a tweet in June 2017, it made headlines; his posting frequency has actually increased since then.)
Even when Trump is in his personal quarters, he tends to tweet incessantly. He seldom sleeps for long. Many reports have said he likes to sit in bed watching TV and tweeting. If the president is on bed rest, he isn’t using it on his normal pastime.
The silence is all the more remarkable because Trump so values the appearance of vigor. At several moments in the past year, the president has appeared physically shaky—struggling to drink out of a glass, or to descend a ramp—at times when he is, ostensibly, healthy. Trump has bristled at any questions about his health, in part because he has invested a great deal of effort in spreading the message that his opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, is not fit enough to hold the office. (Voters seem to have largely rejected that message.) […]
Trump is hardly the first president to offer fishy information about his health. Grover Cleveland secretly had surgery on a boat to remove a tumor. Woodrow Wilson and Dwight Eisenhower covered up acute health incidents; Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan hid chronic issues. But given public worries about COVID-19, and given the president’s poor record for honesty, especially about his health, the public will rightly have more questions the longer it takes for him to reemerge. A tweet will no longer be enough, given that aides, including Dan Scavino, are known to sometimes tweet from the president’s account.
Former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged as much during a Fox appearance this morning, saying, “I’m not too concerned about the health; I’m just concerned about the perception.”
The perception isn’t getting any better as long as the fluffers and sycophants say how wonderful everything is and Trump himself is as quiet as the grave. That’s not a good image.
This is what my gut tells me: Trump is a profound coward. Right now he’s mewling and puking and complaining about an unkind fate, unless I miss my guess. I think his wretched physical condition prior to catching the virus has rendered him sicker than a dog and I think that the White House medical staff is moving heaven and earth to try to cover it up and stall for time. This is all conjecture, because we’re getting fed pieces of information selectively from the White House. But I don’t see him going out on the Truman balcony and waving to the crowd. I think that COVID-19 is the game changer and it is his Waterloo. And he made it that way, it didn’t have to be so.
News just broke at approximately 5:20 EDT that Trump was being helicoptered to Walter Reed. I think his condition is being underplayed.
“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” the White House said in a statement, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.
We’ll see what we shall see. Just bear in mind all the facts: 1. The man is in lousy physical condition; 2. He’s in an age bracket where COVID-19 hits hardest; 3. Last but emphatically not least — he’s got no guts, either morally or physically. I give it 50/50 he doesn’t walk out of Walter Reed. All the presidents’ horses and all the presidents’ men can only do so much. They’re doctors, not magicians.