After it was confirmed on Friday that the president of Brazil has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, there was a question over whether he may have infected President Donald Trump after the two of them shook hands during a meeting last week. So, does Trump have the coronavirus? He has admitted to not being tested.
Trump was dismissing those concerns in the days before Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive. Instead of addressing them directly on Friday, Trump instead deflected attention to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and former President Barack Obama in misguided attacks under the falsest of pretenses. But if Trump was actually infected by the coronavirus, it’s impossible to ignore that he falls under multiple categories for the type of person who is at risk of dying from it. Factor in how Trump has never been forthcoming about his personal health and his situation automatically becomes much direr as he and his administration fumble their way through the global pandemic here in the U.S.
Trump hosted Bolsonaro at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night with photographers snapping several pictures of them shaking hands. Handshakes are one of the myriad ways people can contract the coronavirus, according to both the CDC and Trump’s task force that is led by Vice President Mike Pence. However, Trump and Pence haven’t heeded their own advice, as demonstrated by the handshakes with Bolsonaro and the vice president’s own defiant words.
“I’m still shaking hands here at the White House,” Pence said during an interview with CNN on Thursday morning.
That had led folks to have a decreasing amount of confidence in the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, according to a poll that was taken in the days after the meeting with Bolsonaro. “When it comes to the way President Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus, 43 percent of registered voters approve, while 49 percent disapprove,” the Quinnipiac poll found. Those findings were significantly lower than the ones from a separate Gallup poll conducted last month.
Probably sensing that lack of confidence from the public, Trump’s Twitter fingers took aim at Obama, a familiar target for him during trying times in the White House. Trump blamed Obama and the CDC for the coronavirus’ proliferation in the U.S.
For perspective, Trump — not Obama — fired his entire pandemic team in 2018, leaving the U.S. especially susceptible to the type of pandemic that is upon the country today.
At the age of 73, the risk Trump faces if he has the coronavirus is worse than it would be for someone younger. “People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus, the World Health Organization said on its website, but “[o]lder people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.”
Trump told a reporter on Thursday that he was “not concerned” about being tested for the coronavirus, a stance that CNN called “deeply irresponsible.”
As mentioned, the state of Trump’s health has been someone of a mystery despite his assurances that he is in tip-top physical condition. However, the New York Times reported that “Trump, the oldest president to ever take office, had been taking rosuvastatin, a lipid-lowering drug, daily to control his cholesterol, according to a memo describing results from his previous physicals.”
In November, Trump also went for a medical checkup that was not on his public schedule, prompting suspicions about his health. At the time, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham pronounced without proof that Trump “remains healthy and energetic without complaints.”
Trump was expected on Friday to declare a national state of emergency to aid the coronavirus.