Kevin McCullough, I heard a noise sounding like it was coming from the kids’ end of the upstairs hall. After getting up to inspect, and going for a glass of water, I fell down the rabbit hole, turned on the phone and there it was.
My texts were blown to bits, and my social media inboxes stuffed to the brim.
The president of the United States has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
I wish I could say that I had great confidence that if I wandered on to the live threads of Twitter or clicked any of the hashtags linking his name and the virus that what I’d find would make me grateful to have done so.
There were the Alyssa Milanos and a handful of others that were more measured than expected, but for the most part it was what one would assume.
So let me posit some thoughts that go beyond these next 24-48 hours of news cycle.
Sort of the ultimate game of “what if.”
A few things.
The president’s outcome will more than likely track better than Japan’s Abe or the UK’s Johnson. In other words he will not have been the first world leader to test positive and with the resources at his disposal he’s in the best scenario of all who did. With the advice of his and the nation’s finest doctors he already has done things that will likely benefit him. Abe had to resign. Boris Johnson had a serious case but in just a shade over two weeks was back at the job. For all of the jabs that the media take a President Trump he remains in remarkably good health and is likely better prepared to fight the virus due to his openness to prophylactic use of Hydroxychloroquine.
The president’s prognosis will be the most watched recovery in history. If ever there was a case to be made for keeping a public leader under the microscope—here it is. An office holder running for re-election who has talked continuously of defeating a virus that was wrongfully released on the world by one of our enemies—it sounds Clancy-esque! No? It will be a daily check-in on his recovery (and the first lady’s) as they make a comeback. Over the next two weeks it will outshine a jobs’ report, a Supreme Court nomination, and a COVID-19 relief package (oddly enough.) Biden supporters will literally be on their knees praying tp the God they don’t worship asking to let Trump get “what’s coming.”
The president’s circumstances will allow cover for a break from campaigning — at least for sleepy Joe. Nothing has gotten under the skin more for the Biden people than the recent barrage of pictures of 20-40,000 supporters standing in the cold and rain waiting to hear from President Trump. In one campaign stop President Trump drew more audience in person than Joe Biden’s “whistle stop” tour’s stops all combined. And like he was doing in 2016, the president is hitting the trail relentlessly. Biden has had trouble drawing more than even a few dozens at times. With Trump in quarantine Biden can claim the high ground, return to campaigning from his basement, and not be continually shown up in TV side frames night after night. And if the Biden campaign do the unthinkable and press the candidate to appear in public, hold a rally, or to turn up the aggression, it will be seen for what it is—narcissistic opportunism.
The president will try but be unable to slow down. I type this with a straight face, but I seriously doubt the president intends to alter his plan a great deal — other than to not actively campaign. His brain — now confined to the physical barriers at the White House will be engaged in solving problems, accomplishing all that he can, and winning the election. The genuine advantage he has is his large family, and a base that is more loyal than any in the modern era. With the ability to shoot the vice president, all of his children, their spouses and significant others, all in different directions — the feel of the campaign doesn’t need to decrease. Combine that with the technology of Zoom and remote meet-ups, and rallies near and far can engage meaningful contact with surrogates in person and have the commander in chief greet them live in real time — just to their gathering.
The president will likely be out of quarantine with weeks to go before the election. Worst case scenario with an “average” case of COVID-19, the president is locked down for two weeks. That puts him free to return to the trail somewhere around 10/15. That leaves him just shy of three full weeks to close out the campaign in fury. And does anyone on earth believe that if regular Donald J. Trump is the hardest pushing president in history, that the antibody positive version won’t be even tougher? #AntibodyTrump will crisscross battlegrounds with the renewed focus of a prized athlete returning from an injury-related absence. Dog on a bone, white in rice, pick your analogy. He will be chomping at the bit to be there.
The president’s supporters will unabashedly and unashamedly offer “thoughts” and prayers. I know the left in the country will be cheering his demise. Even as I pen these words at 4:37 a.m., a Never Trump disgrace has posted a poll Vegas-style on how many days it will take for the president to drop out of the race or leave office. The godless left will simply be cheering in their hearts that he contracts the pneumonia the virus can churn into its victims and that he’s “finished.” And the anti-American left will think and possibly utter the words “karma baby.” But the overwhelming number of faith-practicing, church/temple attending people of good heart will without question pray and pull for the president’s full recovery. And when he does recover there will be greater rejoicing that night than there is anxiety and confusion now.
It’s a test of two theories. Does America know more about the virus now? Does it know enough to save its own president? Do the therapies we have work? Did ultimately the president do what he should in the pandemic to save his own life and to bring the nation back simultaneously?
Or… is the only solution to mandate masks and re-shutdown the economy?
Will America’s toughest president—#AntibodyTrump— kick the virus his enemy threw at him?
Or does it elect a weak, ineffective, empty suit waiting to be filled in with marxist operatives?
Circle back by October 15, I’ll have an answer for you!