The President of the United States is in the hospital, battling COVID-19, because of a completely predictable series of events. He has openly mocked mask wearing, he has eschewed guidance from the non-partisan scientists and physicians that provide expertise to the government, and he has continued to gather crowds. No one who understands the basics of disease transmission would recommend testing as the lone strategy to slow virus spread. He routinely put himself and everyone around him at risk. Continuing to ask about his timeline of testing is a waste of time because he could have been negative and spreading the virus, and he’ll never admit to knowing he was positive before the report that Hope Hicks was positive. Based on his behavior, it was never a matter of if Trump was going to contract COVID-19. It was always a matter of when.
Trump is a liar and a fool, but I am a patriot and I will never wish harm on an American president. I hope he receives the treatment that he needs and recovers. I hope we make it to the election and have an opportunity to undo the terrible mistake we made, as a nation. I also wish for a media that does not allow him to turn this into a narrative about how COVID-19 is easily treatable. I wrote last week about how our hospitals are reaching a critical capacity and we have a looming public health crisis in the wings. Trump has his own wing at Walter Reed. You don’t. Wear your damned mask. Wash your hands and stay away from crowds. This isn’t going to magically disappear.
In other ways, Trump’s illness is tremendously informative. He has pressed on as though we can all return to normal and our nation is not gripped with fear about the potential for a constitutional crisis at a time when people have already started voting. A constitutional crisis that might be settled in the Supreme Court.
One reasonable hypothesis is that Trump’s COVID-19 infection is linked to a recent event in the White House Rose Garden to announce the nomination of the Honorable Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the supreme court. Chris Christie, President Trump, Melania Trump, Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Bill Stepien, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ronna McDaniel, and President of Notre Dame Rev. John Jenkins can all be traced to through contacts to that event and all have tested positive for COVID-19.
It was an event that contradicted non-partisan recommendations from the CDC and Trump’s own COVID-19 Task Force. People did not wear masks, they sat shoulder-to-shoulder on the Rose Garden lawn, and they kissed and hugged before and after the ceremony. It was a painfully predictable case study in virus transmission. With a mortality rate of 11% in people >70 years old, it may become a case study in statistics, as well.
But, the person we should be more concerned about is Amy Coney Barrett. The event in the Rose Garden was a publicity stunt. Trump feeds his narcissism by engaging in these spectacles and ignoring the wisdom and advice of non-partisan biomedical advisors. Coney Barrett has demonstrated that she will do the same. The Supreme Court is a check on the presidency and its justices should demonstrate an ability to carefully evaluate the preponderance of the evidence. It considers legal questions, not political questions. She demonstrated a tremendous lack of judgment and wisdom by allowing herself to become party to what can only be classified as shenanigans.
We should question her prudence and thoughtfulness. I suspect that Amy Coney Barrett will not serve the American people. She will serve at the pleasure of the president.