US President Donald Trump has returned to the White House in a blaze of tweets on COVID-19 and his campaign.
Rabat – US President Donald Trump appeared to stage a triumphant return to the White House on Monday night after days of COVID-19 treatment, Twitter storms, and outrage.
“I stood out front, I led,” Trump said on Monday night in a video to supporters. Trump seemed eager to project strength following a weekend receiving COVID-19 treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
Upon his return to the White House, Trump staged a photo-op, belligerently removing his mask even as his COVID-19 infection is still contagious, according to experts. He appeared to present himself as having conquered the disease as if he were a general on the front-lines injured in the line of duty.
“As your leader, I had to do that, I knew there’s danger to it but I had to do it,” Trump stated.
Trump presented his return to the White House as evidence that recent developments in COVID-19 treatment meant the virus no longer poses a threat.
“I learned so much about coronavirus,” he stated before adding, “don’t let it dominate you.” Trump urged his supporters to not be afraid of COVID-19, saying that new medical equipment and medicine mean “we’re going to beat it.”
Trump tried to downplay his hospital visit, saying he could have left two days prior. However, video footage of the president posing outside the White House moments earlier showed him visibly struggling to breathe.
Trump said he felt better than ever. “Don’t let [the pandemic] take over your lives,” he urged his supporters. “We have the greatest country in the world.”
Trump’s return to the White House followed a tumultuous couple of days as he remained in the hospital for COVID-19 treatment.
The US president spent most of Monday tweeting campaign slogans in all caps, to the bemusement of social media users. After Trump announced his discharge, he quoted a New York Post article calling him “an invincible hero” for returning to the campaign trail.
Trump urged his supporters to join the “army for Trump” as “poll watchers”, despite his campaign not offering such a position. “Poll watchers” refer to Jim Crow-era voter intimidation tactics where groups of white supremacists would intimidate black voters to suppress the vote. Trump has repeatedly discredited the coming presidential vote as illegitimate and called upon supporters to “monitor” the election process.
On Twitter, Trump’s favored social media outlet, supporters and opponents of the Republican president responded to his hospital discharge and COVID-19 status. Trump’s efforts to downplay the effects of COVID-19 prompted outrage from medical professionals and family members of the thousands of Americans who have died from the virus.
Trump again compared the pandemic to the coming flu season as justification to not “close down the country.”
Trump’s reassurances on COVID-19 will still mean little for many Americans.
His rapid “recovery” came after receiving the best care the country has to offer. His experience will have had little resemblance to the dire state of healthcare for the majority of citizens. Already prohibitively high healthcare costs for US citizens mean many can simply not afford to get tested or receive treatment.
Another troubling element of Trump’s “recovery” is the similarities with Trump supporter and former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain.
Cain became infected with COVID-19 while attending a Trump rally unmasked. Within a week of his diagnosis, he reported improvement, as Trump currently is. Another week of positive remarks from Cain was followed by the news that he had succumbed to the virus and passed away at the age of 75, 28 days after his first diagnosis.
Many in the US suspected Trump might have faked his COVID-19 diagnosis in an effort to diffuse attention from his chaotic debate performance on September 29. His desperate efforts to project strength and downplay his infection while hospitalized could, however, dispel this rumor.
Trump’s visible wheezing while posing for his photo-op on Monday night is likely evidence that his infection is real, and much remains unclear of his current condition.