33 days before the US presidential election, news that Donald Trump has covid-19 places “the United States in the danger zone in terms of national security”, leaving the country vulnerable, both nationally and globally, says Samantha Vinograd, analyst at CNN.
With the election campaign plunged into chaos, confirmation that Trump and the First Lady, Melania Trump, are infected has triggered the opening of markets in Europe and around the world.
Like other leaders and governments, the spokesman for Eliseu, Gabriel Attal, wished the head of the American state “a speedy recovery, as he would wish for any infected person”. Speaking to LCI television station, Attal added that this confirmation “is a sign that the virus is sparing no one, including those who are most skeptical of its reality and severity.”
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, also wished Trump for improvements, saying that “it is a battle that we continue to wage, every day, no matter where we live”. Michel is presiding over the second day of a European summit this Friday which had to be postponed precisely because the leader completed a quarantine after a security guard with whom he had had close contact tested positive.
Trump has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the novel coronavirus and refuses to wear a mask – even at rallies that bring together thousands of people, also almost always without a mask and without following the rules of distancing. In the United States alone, the virus has infected more than 7 million people and killed more than 200,000.
“The end of the pandemic is in sight”
In fact, it was already known in the White House that Hope Hicks, one of the president’s best advisers and a member of his hard core, had tested positive, and Trump went to New Jersey anyway, where he attended. at a fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster. Also on Thursday, and hours before announcing he has covid-19, in a pre-recorded speech for an annual political dinner (which due to the pandemic took place online), the president reiterated that “the end of the pandemic is in sight “.
Hicks, 31, accompanied Trump on Air Force One to the first presidential debate with Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday. The Democratic campaign has already made it known that the candidate will take a test on Thursday.
Like Trump, 74, the 77-year-old Democratic candidate is also in danger. In Tuesday night’s debate, the president mocked his rival precisely because he often wore a mask. It is very unusual for a test to be positive immediately after the patient’s exposure to the virus, so it is likely that Trump is already infected.
Some of the president’s family who were present were seen without a mask, as they usually appear in public. Hicks then accompanied Trump to Duluth, Minnesota, where he held a rally on Wednesday with thousands of people.
The debate that had everything to do wrong got even worse
“I’m told that a small group of White House officials already knew Thursday morning that Hope Hicks had tested positive. Despite this, President Trump went to New Jersey and the press secretary gave a briefing, ”Kaitlan Collins, CNN’s White House correspondent, wrote on Twitter.
The White House did not disclose
Prior to confirmation, Hicks was already exhibiting symptoms – it is not known for how long. CNN also points out that it is not the White House to reveal that the adviser was covid: the news was originally given by Bloomberg. In other words, health protocols have not been followed, which determine that anyone showing symptoms or with a positive test should self-isolate, at the same time alerting people with whom they have been in contact so that ‘they take their own measures, protecting others from exposure. to the virus.
Collins notes that the press secretary not only did not speak to Hicks’ diagnosis in public, but did not mention it to reporters during her briefing. “She didn’t even tell us. Not even us journalists who were on the plane. There will be tough questions about the White House failing to release this information, not only from journalists present but from Americans, ”he wrote.
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Pence can take office
The list of people who may have been exposed also naturally comes from Vice President Mike Pence (he did not go to the debate but was with Trump on Monday), who is the one who is to assume the post of President if illness prevents Trump. to ensure the fulfillment of functions. In a serious illness scenario, the Constitution provides that the Head of State can temporarily transfer power, taking it back when he considers himself able to do so.
“At the strategic level, the idea that the president is not doing well or cannot do what is necessary to protect himself does not inspire confidence in the credibility of the United States in the face of global challenges,” defends Samantha Vinograd, expert safe. “It’s a big victory for our opponents.”