It’s wrong, morally and tactically, for us to gloat just now because Donald Trump has tested positive for coronavirus. It’s wrong morally because that’s not who we are, that’s who they are, and we are better than them. It’s wrong tactically because this is not how we want Donald Trump to lose. We want him to lose by being repudiated at the ballot box. We want his incompetence and bigotry and criminality repudiated not by default from disease and potential death, but by the overwhelming fiat of the people.
Even so, we have a right to be angry. If you’re pissed off, it’s justified. First, I was angry at how Trump announced it. In his disclosing tweet he wrote, “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19.” First of all, he didn’t test positive for COVID-19, he tested positive for coronavirus. Saying you test positive for COVID is like saying you tested positive for AIDS instead of HIV. It’s a complete miscomprehension of the vernacular of the disease, and it discloses a total lack of competence and basic understanding on his part. How dare he do so little work on something so deadly to his people and intrinsic to his job.
After presiding over 213,524 American deaths (as I write this) and a global pandemic that’s over nine months old, the “stable genius” in charge should have known at least that much. The fact that he still doesn’t know the parlance of the pandemic discloses his complete contempt for the health of everyone in the country and his historic indifference to the problem.
There are a lot of arrogant people out there who are justly embarrassed right now. High on the list are many people at Fox News who carried water for this moron. Trump lived in the most protected bubble in the world, surrounded by doctors who ensured that everyone who came into contact with him got tested, and still he got it. Trump perpetuated the stupid myth that wearing a mask meant you were weak or unamerican. He heaped contempt on reporters who wore masks, pretending he couldn’t hear them because their slightly muffled speech wasn’t discernible — when clearly it was. He downplayed the seriousness of the disease and continued to understate how serious and devastating it is.
Now he has it and finally, FINALLY, Fox News is starting to acknowledge it. As Chris Wallace put it, “If I could say one thing to all the people out there watching, forget the politics, this is a public safety health issue, the president of the United States is in the most secure bubble in the world, in the sense that everybody who comes in contact with him has to take a test and he still got it. So wear the damn mask and follow the science.”
Coronavirus doesn’t care who you are, what party you belong to, or what you believe. It attacks indiscriminately, without preference or prejudice. The wildfire of contagion that is now spreading through the White House and the Senate is going to get worse before it gets better. Trump, who is obese, elderly and has an appallingly poor diet, is at great risk from permanent disability and even death just now, and ignorance is the reason — ignorance of and contempt for science. When we ignore the solid science of epidemiology, the result is as consequential as it is inevitable — death.
If Trump dies of COVID-19 I will not gloat, I will feel cheated. He should live to see his hateful ideas lying in ruin. He should live with the leisure to contemplate behind prison bars the misery his stupidity visited on a country he betrayed. If Trump dies I will only have this to say about it: “It is what it is.” And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.