Just yesterday, LU contributor Myra Adams asked whether “October surprise” was an undated concept in politics. Like clockwork, today’s headlines delivered the 2020 election’s October surprise: The president and first lady have both tested positive for COVID-19.
The president and Mrs. Trump were tested after advisor Hope Hicks was confirmed to have the virus. According to Bloomberg, some of the president’s closest aides said they sensed on Wednesday that he was feeling poorly but chalked it up to fatigue from an intense campaign schedule.
Trump’s personal physician, Dr. Sean Conley, released a statement in the early hours of this morning indicating that the couple are “well at this time,” adding that he expects Trump to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.” Trump will not return to the campaign trail for now, having already canceled a rally in Florida planned for today. Normal virus protocols could keep him off the campaign trail at least 10 days and possibly longer.
This comes at a critical juncture where the Trump campaigning was hoping to gain ground on frontrunner Joe Biden. Some on the Left are reacting the news as though it is an indictment on the president, reasoning “How can he keep the nation safe from coronavirus if he can’t keep himself safe?” — a message you can count on the media and Biden campaign to milk for all it’s worth. But the president is not the first world leader to contract COVID-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized for a number of days, and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro has also tested positive for the virus. Closer to home Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife have contracted the coronavirus. Does that mean he is unfit to lead the state and should be replaced?
In the meantime Biden himself is expected to be tested for the virus today, after having shared a stage Tuesday at the presidential debate in Cleveland. The Biden campaign has not yet made a decision about whether the former vice president will travel to Grand Rapids, Mich. today for a scheduled campaign trip.
*UPDATE* Just in case you assumed it was only the lowest of the low who would respond to this news by wishing the president the worst, this tweet confirms your assumption It was posted by the former national spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Having broken her four-year silence on Twitter, I suggest that she now climb back into the hole she obviously lives in.