Video: Trump suffering from ‘mild’ Covid-19 symptoms (PA Media)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Masks were rarely spotted in the West Wing. Crowds of people gathered shoulder to shoulder on the White House South Lawn. And Air Force One streaked across the sky from one massive campaign rally to another.
With ready access to testing and the best public health minds at his disposal, President Donald Trump should have been the American safest from COVID-19. Instead, he flouted his own government’s guidelines and helped create a false sense of invulnerability in the White House, an approach that has now failed him as it did a nation where more than 200,000 people have died.
Marine One, the presidential helicopter, lifted off Friday to take Trump to a military hospital from the same White House lawn that less than a week earlier had been the site of his celebratory nomination of a new Supreme Court justice as he charged toward the November election.
Several people at the event, including a U.S. senator, have since tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump is now ensconsed at Walter Reed Medical Center after running a fever and feeling fatigued following his early-morning revelation that he had tested positive for the virus.
“He let the country down by disregarding the CDC, ignoring federal guidelines and acting like he was Superman,” said presidential historian David Brinkley. “He did not just downplay the virus, he paraded around like a peacock, making fun of those who took it seriously.”
From the pandemic’s early days, Trump, by his own admission, played down the severity of the virus. He repeatedly suggested it would “disappear” and for a while was pushing for the American economy to fully reopen by Easter, just a month after the pandemic fully engulfed the nation.
And he soon began resisting the advice of public health experts on his own coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. He publicly clashed with the heads of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over everything from the risks associated with opening schools to the timetable for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Those on the White House staff dared not break with the president, who wanted to embody a nation on the way back, not one fixated with health guidelines that would remind a nervous