Trump: A Walking Superspreader?

Those who have been retracing Trump’s steps over the past few days have noted with alarm that he’s been in maskless, not-socially-distanced contact with much of the upper echelon of the Republican Party. This includes Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair, who  tested positive on Wednesday. See Sam Brody, Daily Beast:

The web of those exposed by President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis reads like a who’s who of his peripatetic campaign: his campaign manager, the chair of the Republican National Committee, the leader of the House GOP’s campaign arm, and several high-profile members of Congress.

Now, those officials—not to mention countless supporters of the president—have either contracted COVID-19 or are at high risk for it after a week in which an infected Trump has criss-crossed the country. It also means a wide swath of the GOP’s formal campaign apparatus could be sidelined a month before a pivotal election in which the party is losing ground in its efforts to hold onto the White House, keep the Senate, and recapture the House.

Go on to read the rest of the article to see where he’s been and who he has been in contact with.  For example, at least two other people at the Amy Coney Barrett nomination announcement on Saturday have tested positive — Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee and the Rev. John Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame. Trump was not exactly exercising caution at the event; Sam Brody writes that “video taken of the event by a CNN reporter shows him hugging and greeting other attendees without wearing a mask.” I don’t suppose there is any way to know if Trump was the infector or infectee at that point.

Amy Coney Barrett herself says she already had the virus and recovered.

There are some hints here and there that Trump was not feeling well as early as Wednesday. His speech at a rally in Minnesota was short, by Trump standards, for example. But sources in the White House are saying that Trump feels just fine or has only mild symptoms or has a fever and a cough. Given how the White House clearly lies about the state of Trump’s health, my guess is that he’s sicker than they’re letting on.

Erin Banco and Asawin Suebsaeng of the Daily Beast say that the White House has been plain sloppy about virus protocols for a long time.

News that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had contracted the coronavirus may have sent shockwaves through the nation’s capital as it awoke Friday morning. But for those who worked for the president, the surprise was that it had taken this long to get to this point.

The White House may house some of the most important figures in government. But for months, the testing protocols to screen potentially infectious individuals have been more lax than the president’s aides present to the public.

It’s a wonder he didn’t catch it sooner. Joe Biden is still negative, he says, although that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in the clear.

Paul Waldman writes that Trump thought he could beat the virus with spin. Obviously, he failed.

Charles Pierce has questions, including “Do they have to disinfect the nuclear ‘football’?” and “Does the White House have enough roosts for all these returning chickens?”

The Probable Outcomes of Trump’s Diagnosis.

Update: CNN reports that Trump is on his way to Walter Reed.

A Brilliant Plot Twist

If we were all living inside a novel, this is the exact moment a savvy author would give Trump the virus. The timing couldn’t be better. Here’s the latest:

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that the president was experiencing “mild symptoms,” but remained in “good spirits and very energetic.”

The president is expected to conduct official and political events from the residence — including a call Friday with senior citizens about the coronavirus.

The diagnosis is a jolt for the country’s leadership and had some advisers early Friday discussing the continuity of government should the president’s condition grow worse. Vice President Pence tested negative for the virus Friday morning, a spokesman said.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tested positive for the virus Wednesday but didn’t reveal her diagnosis until after Trump announced he had the virus. McDaniel was last with Trump a week ago at a Sept. 25 fundraiser.

The announcement of Trump’s infection was soon followed by a torrent of speculation that he is faking covid to get out of the next debate. I doubt that, because the next debate is a couple of weeks off yet. Also, too:

More sage posters, like author and self-described conspiracy-theory debunker Mike Rothschild offered this: “The galaxy brain take is that Trump is faking COVID to get out of the debates or distract from the tax stuff. But his image depends on being a bull god street fighter Adonis who outworks men half his age. He wouldn’t pretend to be sick and weak. If anything, he’d cover it up.”

Indeed, yesterday before the announcement Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns and Money speculated that Trump already was infected and was covering it up. .

Philip Bump at WaPo also speculates that if the news of Hope Hicks’s infection hadn’t been leaked, would we have learned about Trump?

One has to wonder what would have happened had Bloomberg News not uncovered Hicks’s positive test, which was conducted Thursday morning. The president continued his schedule as normal despite her diagnosis — and despite perhaps not feeling 100 percent himself, according to Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs. That included a closed-door fundraiser at Trump’s private club in New Jersey on Thursday. Business as usual, as best he could.

If the Hicks diagnosis hadn’t become public, when, if ever, would we have learned about Trump’s?

Bump reminds us of all the times the Trump and his people have issued obviously phony reports of his robust good health, so if Meadows says he’s experiencing “mild symptoms” he’s probably not doing well at all.

Now, let me say now that I don’t want him to die. I want him to lose. I want him indicted and convicted. I want him wrung out to dry by the legal system. Death at this point is too good for him.