Reactions to the positive coronavirus tests of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump poured in from around the globe Friday, as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and others in tweeting their well-wishes.
Johnson had previously contracted the coronavirus and recovered.
Stateside, Trump’s presidential opponent Joe Biden and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro also sent good wishes to the president.
In a 1 a.m. tweet Friday, Trump declared he and his wife had contracted the virus. The tweet was initially met with skepticism as many believed the president might be seeking to sway voters after a ghastly debate performance that now has him trailing Biden by as much as 13 percentage points with just about one month to go before Election Day.
“I see some of you don’t believe the Trumps have COVID,” BlackPressUSA’s entertainment and culture reporter Nsenga Burton tweeted. “They have it. A reporter broke the story. They didn’t come forward and disclose their status. They knew and carried on, as usual, exposing a ton of people, including Biden, in the process. Debates should be canceled. Vote Nov. 3.”
Reminded that Trump has downplayed the deadly virus as a hoax and previously suggested that people inject themselves with disinfectant to combat COVID-19, Castro expressed hope that the president now realizes the disease’s seriousness.
In a cautiously worded statement that contained seeds of doubt as to whether Trump has the virus, Castro wrote:
“Mr. President — if these reports are confirmed, I wish you and the First Lady well. I hope this is a wakeup call that this virus is not a hoax or something cured by injecting bleach. We need a plan, not the same divisive, dangerous rhetoric.”
The virus has infected more than 34 million worldwide, with over 1 million dying from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Nearly 7.5 million in the United States have received a positive diagnosis, with more than 208,000 deaths.
In more than a dozen recorded telephone calls between journalist Bob Woodard and Trump, the president admitted that he knew as early as January about the severity of the potentially deadly virus, but did nothing to protect the American public.
The president famously held large rallies where masks were not required, but Trump openly spoke against their usage.
Trump supporter and African American businessman Herman Cain died in August after contracting the coronavirus. Cain received the dire diagnosis after attending a crowded Trump rally in Tulsa in June, where he was seen without a mask.
Trump’s positive test comes on the heels of the coronavirus diagnosis of his aide Hope Hicks and just days after the Biden debate.
Biden was expected to get a coronavirus test Friday.
As social media erupted in banter about the president’s positive test, even some of his critics remained unsure of just how to react.
“Not gonna lie,” wrote Dr. Leigh-Ann Webb, a National Newspaper Publishers Association Coronavirus Task Force member. “As a healthcare provider, there’s something sad about an entire timeline filled with people celebrating Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.”
Journalist Jemele Hill tweeted, “Being angry doesn’t mean you wish ill on the president. But the hope is that this will be a big wakeup call for the people who carelessly followed his lead.”
Mocking Trump for his never-ending bravado in which the president portends that everything he does is more remarkable than anyone or anything, journalist Matt Danzico deadpanned: “He tested positive better than anyone in history – probably. I don’t know the guy. But I hear, I hear he tested positive better than anyone in history.”
And one prescient Twitter user predicted two weeks earlier that Trump would claim to have the virus: “Trump’s October surprise would be the announcement of ‘his infection.’ Fake, but quite dramatic. This twist will blow Biden off the screens, the ‘Trump COVID watch’ dominating every minute of every day. Then, 14 days later, Trump will emerge, 100% cured by hydroxychloroquine.”