Campus Response: U.S. President tests positive
By Emma Hennessy (TheLorian)
President Trump announced on Twitter that he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 1. They stayed at Walter Reed Medical Center before returning to the White House on Oct. 5. Vice President of the Democrat Club, junior Jake Heelein, President of the Republican Club, sophomore Maria Vazquez, and Professor Deone Merkel share their reactions to the situation.
Are you surprised or shocked that Trump left the hospital so soon?Especially considering the fact that his age and BMI puts him at a greater risk of fatal consequences?
Heelein- “This is a president with such a low disregard for people in this country that it should not have surprised me. However, it did surprise me that he still isn’t taking it seriously – even after being hospitalized with it. He said on Twitter, ‘you shouldn’t have to live in fear’ after being hospitalized. To me, that is just absurd.”
Vazquez- “I understand that President Trump has a diet consisting of fast food and McDonald’s and that it’s not good. However, I think we should be happy, as a nation, that our president is fine because we don’t wish a hospitalization on anybody, especially with COVID-19. The decision is between him and his doctors. I don’t have an expertise in medicine so I shouldn’t be voicing my opinion too extremely. It’s between him and his doctors. I think that we should just be happy that he is fine.”
Professor Merkel- “Am I surprised that he left the hospital? No, not at all. Do I think he should have left the hospital? No, not at all. I don’t think he was ready to leave the hospital and I don’t think he really cared whether the doctors thought he should be in or not. Do I think that he probably should have been monitored in the hospital longer? Most likely. I think he left because it wasn’t politically advantageous for him to be in there.”
During this pandemic, we have seen a variety of responses from the public. Some people refuse to wear masks, while others are cautious. Some people even promoted the idea that the virus is a hoax. Do you think that Trump’s case of COVID-19 will change how the public views the virus?
Heelein- “I think there is a lot of confusion right now from the people who believed it was a hoax. The person they believed it from now has the virus. I think the people who took it seriously are going to continue to take it seriously. I don’t think it will have much of an impact because he [Trump] survived it and is brushing it off.”
Vazquez- “I think people just became more aware of it and I don’t really think public opinion is going to really change, either. In the beginning of the pandemic, we were glued to the news and now we kind of just floated away from that and are focused on our lives. Maybe it brought us back a little bit to focus on what’s happening with COVID-19.”
Professor Merkel- “I do. The fact that he admitted he had the virus and that he was hospitalized will have an impact on people who were skeptical about whether COVID-19 is real or not. I think that is going to push them into an area where they compare it with the flu. However, I think they will be pushed into the category of people who think ‘it’s really not that bad.’ Many people claim that the number of deaths that are being reported are not COVID-19 related and that everybody is just writing COVID-19 in the death certificates so that the hospitals can get money from the government. I think that is a conspiracy theory and that it isn’t true at all. If people have a heart attack, they are being listed as having a heart attack, not dying from COVID-19. The conspiracy theorists say that it doesn’t matter what you die of, they will mark it down as COVID-19 because the hospitals will get money for it.”
How do you think that this situation would influence voters?
Heelein- “I would like to believe that the people would not change their political beliefs because they feel bad for somebody. I, of course, would want him to recover, but I don’t think anyone will abandon their liberal views to vote for conservatively. It might bring out more conservatives but I can’t imagine it changing anybody’s minds.”
Vazquez- “I don’t think the voters will be influenced by this. He is recovered and is healthy enough to be leading our country again. I think people are pretty set on their party lines at this point.”
Professor Merkel- “I think it might fire up his opponents quite a bit. Many of his opponents are laughing. It might inflame his opponents, but I don’t think it will change his base much. I don’t think he will lose any voters because of it.”
On Fox News, Hannity asks Trump if he was tested negative recently. Trump avoided the question and even mentioned desire in continuing his rallies. Many people are questioning whether the President and his administration are hiding information from the general public. What is your take on this?
Heelein- “Trump, in regards to COVID-19, will always say that he is trying to prevent a mass panic. To Trump’s credit, that has remained consistent. However, he has created mass panic about so many other things. He was on audio saying that he didn’t want to make a mass panic on this. Three months later, he made a massive panic on the Black Lives Matter Movement. I think that Trump is trying to prevent people from worrying about him. I think that some of that has to do with electability, but some of it has to do with the idea of appearing powerful.”
Vazquez- “He has publicly announced that he is feeling good and that he is well. I think that is a sign that he is doing okay. I think that he can choose what he shares to the public. He is still human and can still have privacy. Just because they put him on this pedestal doesn’t mean that he stops becoming human. Everyone should have a right to have their own private life.”
Professor Merkel- “Yeah, they are! There is absolutely no question in my mind that Trump’s administration is hiding things. It’s probably important to note that most presidents, if not every president, have hidden something from the public, whether it is justified or not. There are certain things that probably are justified to be hidden from us. Is the president’s health one of those things that is justified to be hidden from us? My personal reaction is ‘absolutely not.’ We have the right to know what the health of the sitting president is. From an unbiased standpoint, if the president has a cold, that is not our business. If the president has a hangnail, that’s not our business. If the president has an infectious disease that could kill him, for which we currently do not have any kind of a cure, or even viable treatment, necessarily, does the public need to know that? Yeah. I think we do. Are we going to be told? No. We will not.”