Trump is not the first world leader to test positive for the virus — fellow authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Monaco’s Prince Alfred II have all been confirmed to have been infected with the illness. Johnson spent time in intensive care and his team prepared contingency plans in the case the PM did not survive.
But, along with Bolsonaro, Trump is one of the leaders who has publicly expressed scepticism about the virus’ severity. He has also repeatedly resisted taking precautions such as wearing a face mask, and as recently as this week mocked his Democratic opponent in the presidential race, Joe Biden, for wearing a mask.
In March, tapes of interviews with famed journalist Bob Woodward revealed that Trump knew that COVID-19 was more serious than his public statements suggested and that by his own admission he was “play[ing] it down” to avoid “panic.” In late September, he told a crowded campaign rally the virus “affects virtually nobody.”
Trump says he and the First Lady are in quarantine, beginning “immediately.”
UPDATE: Oct. 2, 2020, 3:49 p.m. AEST Melania Trump has tweeted that she and the president are “feeling good.”
You will recall that President Trump’s tweet came in the middle of the night on the East Coast, and there are unlikely to be any further developments until the morning, meaning that Twitter is obviously rife with speculation, conspiracy theories, and memes of various taste levels.
There’s also no shortage of attempts to game out the next few weeks, as though literally anybody has any idea what happens when a sitting president contracts a potentially deadly virus 35 days out from a presidential election he’s actively trying to undermine while behind in the polls.
Anyway, literally nobody knows how to process this right now, so here are some tweets about it.