Trump posing on the Truman balcony after returning from Walter Reed hospital

| It was inevitable. For months Trump has been downplaying the coronavirus and putting himself and others in situations with a high risk of transmission: packing supporters on the White House lawn for the Republican convention, holding indoor and outdoor rallies without physical distancing or using masks, exhorting states to open all their businesses and send all the kids back to school. Of course Trump contracted the virus.

Very early Friday morning Trump tweeted (of course he would) that both he and Melania had tested positive. By that afternoon, he was being flown to Walter Reed for treatment in "an abundance of precaution" or so they said. But then more weird things began to happen. They put him on an aggressive regimen of unapproved drugs given only to severely ill Covid-19 patients, and never before in combination. That's not what you do just as a precaution. Nevertheless, his doctor painted a rosy picture about how very wonderfully Trump was doing, while at the same time dodging any question that couldn't be answered with a superlative.

By Sunday afternoon, Trump was taking a joy ride around Walter Reed in a hermetically sealed SUV so he could wave at his supporters on the roads around the hospital. He wore only a cloth mask and was driven by two Secret Service agents who appeared to be wearing N-95 masks but not other obvious PPE.

By Monday afternoon, Trump was being discharged from the hospital to continue recuperation "at home." No responsible medical expert could explain how this sequence of events could possibly be wise or warranted.

So picture the homecoming.... The helicopter lands right in front of the White House, Trump exists the chopper, and — instead of going in the door on the ground floor — marches up the two flights of stairs to the Truman balcony. There he posed himself at the railing with his chest forward and head thrown back and immediately removed his mask! Without the mask, it was obvious that he was huffing and puffing, but equally determined to present his best strongman pose. It was not unlike the pose he struck in front of the church after tear-gassing peaceful American protesters so he could walk across the street. Also not unlike the poses of another infamous strongman, Benito Mussolini.

removing mask
Removing his mask. Little did he know it would expose his labored breathing
Mussolini
Benito Mussolini strikes a pose. Look familiar?
holding bible at church
Trump's photo-op at St John's church after violently clearing protesters from the street

There seems to be nothing more important to Trump than maintaining his image.

One would have hoped.... Almost anyone else, having been taken ill with something they called a hoax for the last 8 months, might engage in a litle self-reflection and reconsider, at least a bit. Not el Sicko in Chief! He got on his phone this morning and began tweeting about how Covid-19 was just like the flu and how we shouldn't "be afraid of Covid." Nor should we "let it dominate your life." For once Facebook and Twitter responded appropriately. Facebook took down his post and Twitter disabled re-tweets and added a warning label against "spreading misleading and potentially harmful information." Reuters also removed information.

Of course Trump now thinks it's nothing to worry about; he's jacked up on massive doses of steroids and he received free medical care at one of the premier hospitals in the world from a phalanx of specialists. His treatment included drugs that no one else can get outside of a clinical trial. And the $750 he paid in taxes the first year of his presidency didn't even begin to cover the cost of chopper fuel to fly him there!

team of doctors
Trump's team of doctors at Walter Reed hospital, led by White House physician Sean Conley, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and master of medical spin

In Trump's mind, he undoubtedly thinks that he heroically defeated the virus all by himself through his own strength and resolve. Barring unforeseen developments, he will go around the country in the last days of the campaign disparaging those who shut the country down in an effort to stop the virus.  Like everything else about this president, though, this would be an alternative fact. According to what I've read, he may have another October surprise awaiting him in a few days.

I just feel terribly sorry for all the White House staff who now have to work in a dangerous environment. And for the poor Secret Service agents tasked with protecting him. Word now is they're beginning to wonder who will protect them from Trump!

There are others who I do not feel the least bit sorry for. You know who they are.

Last updated on Oct 6, 2020

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