President Trump’s character and COVID-19

Emily Morris, Managing Editor

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania tested positive for COVID-19 late Oct. 1, joining the over 4 million other Americans who’ve tested positive since March.

Trump’s diagnosis was prefaced like several rumbling notches up a rollercoaster after putting COVID-19 as too low of a priority since January. 

“We have it (COVID-19) totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine,” Trump said to a CNBC reporter on Jan. 22.

Trump’s response to the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. offers a controlled and comfortable tone. Optimism was more accessible in January though, COVID-19 wasn’t declared a pandemic until March 18

Trump irrefutably compromised his leadership in April though by minimizing the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations to wear a face mask to prevent further spread of COVID-19. 

“You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it, and that’s OK,” Trump said on April 3, according to National Public Radio (NPR). “It may be good. Probably will. They’re making a recommendation. It’s only a recommendation.”

He didn’t entirely condemn wearing protective masks, but he also didn’t set an example. This is important because the president, the head of the U.S., cannot be aloof. A leader should not choose set an example and lead the country in 2015 and become detached from those fundamental expectations when challenges arise. 

The CDC is comprised of a variety of health professionals, people who’ve devoted their lives to the health of others. On the other hand, Trump studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University, which is a fighting focus for a politician, but his expertise does not give him the grounds to minimize a health organization. 

The official presidential position description doesn’t include “health,” “medical” or “safety,” according to the White House. These words aren’t left out by accident because the CDC is a government health agency, which can guide the president in his leadership, should the president have to address health related issues, like a pandemic. 

President Trump let the American people down when he chose to act independently, forming personal opinions about COVID-19.

The U.S. is ran as a democracy, so there should never be one person — even the president — who leads based on personal thoughts and feelings. In fact, a democracy should include everyone’s voice to formulate plans, including the CDC. The CDC is a government health guidance tool that should be used to offer the most accurate health advice. 

“It (COVID-19) affects virtually nobody,” Trump said during a campaign speech in Ohio on Sept. 21. “It’s an amazing thing.”

This speech was given less than two weeks before President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with COVID-19. The irony is almost palpable because on Oct. 2, they became the “nobody.”