Apparently, Donald and Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19. Part of me wonders if this is a publicity stunt meant to downplay the virus even more. But it is unlikely, since Trump does not possess the acumen for that level of scheming. But regardless of that, it is hard to muster up sympathy for a man who said “it is what it is” when asked about the death toll from Covid-19. Or for his wife, who wore a jacket to an immigrant child detention centre that was emblazoned with the words “I really don’t care, do you?”
This president’s administration threw out the handbook on how to deal with pandemics. He spent the first crucial month of the pandemic downplaying its seriousness. He then continued to lie about it even after he knew how deadly it was. He admitted this to Bob Woodward. He then proceeded to blame China for it and said “I don’t take responsibility at all” when asked about a lag in testing for the virus. He has never expressed empathy for the millions of Americans who contracted the disease or the families who lost loved ones to it. He peddled the drug hydroxychloroquine despite the fact that there is no evidence it does anything to cure or even treat Covid-19 and can have serious side effects. He talked about injecting disinfectant as a cure. And he was just on national television mocking his opponent for wearing a mask.
There is no reason to express any sympathy for Trump or his wife. Like other leaders who downplayed the pandemic, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Boris Johnson of Britain for instance, it is certain they will receive the best treatments and healthcare available. The same cannot be said for the citizens under them.
212,869 Americans have died so far from Covid-19. 1,029,094 worldwide. 7,505,074 Americans are infected with Covid-19. 34,578,919 worldwide. Most of them are the working poor. Most of them are Black, or Indigenous, or Latinx. Most of them lack access to adequate healthcare. Most of them will suffer in other ways beyond the virus itself, from losing income or housing. Or from poor mental health.
Our solidarity, not sympathy, should be with them. As for Donald and Melania Trump? It is what it is.
Kenn Orphan October 2020