The US President confirmed today that he and his wife Melania have tested positive for COVID-19. Donald Trump and his wife had already gone into quarantine at the White House after one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier.
But, let’s be honest, this news isn’t surprising. Trump has decided to not wear a mask for 99% of his travels over the last 9 months, and he has been in places where people had the virus. However, this positive test has come at the worst time possible for President Trump.
There is only 1 month before the presidential election on November 3rd, and his positive test will keep him in quarantine for the next 2 weeks. This puts Trump at a significant disadvantage. The next presidential debate is on October 15th, which means Trump will be racing to be healthy by then. However, we must not forget that this is a deadly virus. Although I am sure Trump and Melania will be able to overcome the virus with support from all the medical staff at the White House, there is still a possibility of more severe health consequences.
It is also likely that this virus has now spread with other people surrounding Donald Trump. The President didn’t wear a mask during the recent debate, he has been willingly shaking supporters’ hands and has been moving around the country with his team. There could be many other people close to Trump who now test positive to the virus.
Does this news change the result of the election? I highly doubt it. For Biden’s supporters, it re-affirms their belief in Biden and their distaste towards Trump. For some people in the middle, it may swing some voters towards Biden but not by a significant amount. However, if Biden can effectively utilise the next 2 weeks to campaign, it could certainly be detrimental to Trump’s goal of re-election.
For Trump’s support base, I don’t see it changing too much. Maybe some Republicans who have continued to call COVID-19 a hoax will finally change their tone, but I am almost sure they will find another ridiculous excuse that lacks any evidence. Or just blame China for Trump testing positive. Nonetheless, with social media being a powerful tool of campaigning, I believe Trump will continue to find a way to rally voters during his period of quarantine.
If the upcoming US election wasn’t crazy enough, Trump’s positive test just made it even crazier. There are many more unanswered questions as we enter the last month of campaigning before the American people will decide who leads their nation for the next 4 years.
I’m not going to sit here and laugh at Donald Trump. Yes, he has been incredibly ignorant to the impact of the virus but over the last few months, he has begun to understand the danger and threat of the virus. Even if that realisation still didn’t make him put a mask on, like the other candidate who doesn’t have COVID-19, Joe Biden. I hope this test will finally make Trump take action on a risk which has been present for many months. Regardless, I wish Trump and Melania a speedy recovery and we’ll wait and see what more dramatic surprises are left in this race for Presidency.