So, President Trump contracts the coronavirus, as does the First lady. Other staffers test positive, and what does he do? Take a bunch of super drugs, get out of the hospital as fast as he can so he can attend a rally or something, then dramatically rip off his mask and tell the gathered throng not to be afraid of the coronavirus.
Okay. Why? What’s with the unmasking? What was the point?
Is this bravura? I’m not afraid of the coronavirus…you shouldn’t be, either. Okay, but being strong and unflinching in the face 9f COVID-19 is what he has been doing all this time, not wearing a mask everywhere he went and acting like it was a weak flu virus.
But, that was before he had it. Or before we knew he had it.
Is this supposed to be some Princess Diana moment? At the height of the AIDS scare, when even medical professionals were afraid to touch the infected, she would touch, hug and kiss visibly infected people, to show that we should not be afraid to do so ourselves. That was bravura. That was courageous.
But, Donald Trump is the one with the disease. He didn’t walk into a sick ward filled with gasping patients and rip off his mask to show he wasn’t afraid of them or the coronavirus. As I said, he has been doing that all along. No, he is the one infected. He is whipping off his mask in a room of people, and potentially affecting some of them. That isn’t courageous. That’s irresponsible…and backwards.
Or, maybe he is saying, “Don’t be afraid of me because I am infected, and don’t be afraid of anyone else who is infected, either”. If that is his message, he has delivered it the wrong way. Removing his mask should signal his refusal to blink in the face of the pandemic, not his lack of concern for the health and lives of other people, including his supporters.
Mixed and misunderstood messages have been part of President Trump’s since the beginning of this pandemic. I am convinced that his refusal to wear a mask was meant to be a sign of his personal strength, how he believed he and other leaders, other people, should react. He wasn’t being irresponsible in his own mind; he was setting an example and being a strong leader, being a man. Wearing a mask wouldn’t have just been a sign of weakness on his part, it would have fueled the growing panic over the pandemic. I admit that’s what I thought of Governor Cuomo when he shut down New York. I thought he was only feeding the panic and giving people another reason to get irrational and hysterical and start hoarding and demanding their states be shut down, too.
But, Trump has gotten his signals mixed up. You don’t take off your mask when you are infected and can infect other people. You take it off when you are healthy and others are infected – if you take it off at all. And, you do it only for political effect, to strengthen and inspire the nation, not when it makes you the poster boy for public and political irresponsibility.