COVID-19 patient Donald Trump’s sunny outlook casts gloomy shadows
Three days after he quietly slipped away to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of his COVID-19 infection, President Trump returned home with his sunny side up.
“We’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front,” Mr. Trump said in a video shot immediately after his return and then posted online. “As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. And I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger, but that’s OK. And now I’m better and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives.”
Is he nuts?
Not in his view. He sees his presidential role quite sanely as the nation’s “cheerleader.”
Well, sometimes cheerleaders are good to have, but, to carry his metaphor just a little further, it seldom brings us much cheer when the cheerleader is supposed to be the quarterback.
As Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, acknowledged on the day of the president’s early release, he “may not entirely be out of the woods yet.”
The doctors refused to reveal when he had his last negative test or discuss scans of the president’s lungs, which could mean he has pneumonia. That’s worrisome when dealing with a disease known to take unpredictable turns for the worse.
A sunny attitude is no substitute for a troubling absence of information. It leads instead to worrisome rumors, speculation and misinformation, particularly in today’s conspiracy theory-saturated social media culture.
In fact, with internet rumor mills floating the almost inevitable conspiracy theories that maybe Trump wasn’t even ill or in the hospital at all, Trump probably might say he was performing a public service with his impromptu Sunday motorcade for a vigil of supporters outside Walter Reed in suburban Bethesda, Maryland.
“See?” he could say. “I’m alive!”