Following President Trump’s return to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday, the first full week of October is starting out with a bang. There is a debate on Wednesday between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence, which will be one of the most closely watched Vice Presidential debates of all time. How will Pence handle the last week of fallout over President Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis? How will Harris attack the administration on the subject without crossing a line of inviting sympathy for a “sick old man“?
Truth be told, many Americans still feel they don’t have a full grasp of the President’s health right now. He appears to be doing well, but even appearances can be deceiving with some theories now floating around that the President looked like he was gasping for air after departing Marine One on his way inside the White House:
Trump looks like he is gasping for air pic.twitter.com/4k2v4Jxlir
— Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) October 5, 2020
The video is there to judge for yourself.
The mood and drama inside the White House seem tumultuous as the administration copes with an incessant press corp, a presidential campaign at full throttle, and balancing some kind of new safety protocols with a bastion of Covid-19 infections still lurking about:
Upon returning to the White House, Trump took off his mask before posing for a photo opportunity as Marine One took off.
Back inside the West Wing, the mood was less triumphant. “Folks are dropping like flies over here,” a White House official said. “S— is very crazy.”
Normally a hive of activity, the White House press office was dark and deserted Monday morning, even before press secretary Kayleigh McEnany revealed that she had tested positive for the virus. In one area, the lights hadn’t been turned on. In another section, where about half a dozen staffers usually sit tightly grouped together as top administration officials stream in and out, just one aide had come in to work.
McEnany joined a string of aides and allies who have tested positive in recent days as the White House has become a center for a coronavirus outbreak affecting low-level aides to senators and some of Trump’s closest advisers, like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is in a hospital.
The Trump campaign is trying to turn the election into a referendum on the virus rather than the President’s handling of the outbreak or job performance. With the President’s statement imploring Americans not to let the virus dominate their lives, the issue has now become a question of which direction the country wants to head in November.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
Even some Republicans Senators seem to be throwing down the gauntlet at this point with nothing else to lose on the matter, such as Ron Johnson, from Wisconsin:
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who tested positive last week, said in an interview with a conservative talk-show host that there is “a level of unjustifiable hysteria” about a virus that has killed nearly 210,000 Americans. He asked, “Why do we think we actually can stop the progression of a contagious disease?”
Johnson added that “from Day 1, we never should have gone through the shutdowns” and said, “We’ve got to carry on with our lives.”
Americans, in many ways, seem entirely ready for a return to normal life, and entirely ready to accept various restrictions at the same time. The President appears to be taking a road toward returning to normalcy, now using his own experience with the virus as a wedge to point out that if he, a 74-year-old clinically obese man can beat Covid-19, then America can move on. That message will resonate with much of the President’s base, but will it repel other voters at the same time?
President Donald Trump is responsible for contracting COVID-19, Democratic nominee Joe Biden argued on Monday.
“Look, anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, ‘masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter,’ I think is responsible for what happens to them,” Biden said during an NBC News town hall with Lester Holt.
Biden suggested that if members of the socially distanced audience at the televised event in Miami were to remove their masks and “all of a sudden got in a gaggle and started talking to one another” then “they’re taking responsibility that, in fact, they should be held responsible for.”
Now that Trump is out of the hospital, the Biden campaign has felt a little more at ease in attacking the President over the issue of his diagnosis.
In return, at least one Trump campaign surrogate has attacked Biden for lacking the same experience with the virus, meaning Biden can’t talk about it unless he contracts it?
The Trump campaign is now attacking Biden for…not contracting coronavirus.
“He has experience — now — fighting the coronavirus as an individual. Those firsthand experiences, Joe Biden, he doesn’t have those." pic.twitter.com/Qk0Qc8l6q9
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) October 5, 2020
Truly amazing times in which we live, and it’s only six days into the month of October.
From this point, the President has stated he fully intends to participate in the next Presidential Debate set for Oct. 15, held in Miami. Joe Biden also said he is on board to participate as well assuming all safety precautions are followed and health officials deem it safe.
Pence and Harris will get their shot on Wednesday night at the Vice Presidential debate. We will have all the details and live stream links for viewing the VP battle.