While President Trump was flown to Walter Reed Military Medical Hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus, lawmakers on Capitol Hill hoped that the experience would change his attitude towards the virus. But since returning to the White House last night, the president has doubled down that the virus isn’t as bad as it seems, and told Americans not to let it “dominate” their lives.
In a tweet today, Trump compared the virus to the flu. He said, “Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
Facebook has already removed this post, and critics are saying Trump’s downplay of the virus is risking American lives. His tweet today mirrors the message he sent Americans last night before he left the hospital. Trump diminished the virus, after experiencing it first hand. He said, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
President Trump did not transfer his power to Vice President Mike Pence upon leaving for the hospital. And while Americans were worried this was a sign his health was deteriorating quickly, he made sure to update the people from his social media accounts via video messages.
Today, Trump also promised that he will be able to attend and participate in the second presidential debate. He said, “I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!”
Why this matters: While Congress has still failed to come to an agreement on passing the second coronavirus relief bill, Pelosi had hoped Trump would change his mind about the amount of money that needs to be spent to get America back track. But based on his tweets post-hospital, it seems like Trump now seems the coronavirus is less deadly than he did before testing positive. It was also unclear if Trump was going to be able to continue to work and to campaign with just weeks before the election. Now, it seems like he is going to move full-steam ahead, and will offer a different tone about the current state of the shutdown.