Reports of tax dodging, business failings and heavy debt revealed, followed by a poor debate performance and finally contracting COVID19 himself
Trump: ‘End of pandemic in sight’ just hours before testing positive
Andrew Solender | Forbes
In his usual style of casting the pandemic as a largely finished matter, President Trump said at the Al Smith Dinner on Thursday that the end of the coronavirus pandemic was “in sight,” just hours before testing positive for the virus himself.
- In his remarks, Trump touted advances in treatments and a reduced fatality rate, claiming that the U.S. was on track to distribute a vaccine before, or even “substantially before,” the end of the year, despite the far lengthier timeline given by his health officials and vaccine CEOs.
- “I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight,” Trump added, predicting 2021 would be “one of the greatest years in the history of our country.”
- The speech was played at the dinner on Thursday evening, just hours before the news emerged that White House adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus on Wednesday after coming in contact with Trump during a trip to Minnesota.
- Trump himself announced early Friday morning that he and the First Lady both tested positive for the virus and would go into quarantine, with the White House clearing his schedule.
The development upends Trump’s framing of the virus, which he has long insisted would “disappear,” even stating in a Fox News interview on Sunday “We’re rounding the turn,” adding, “they hate when I say that, the opposition. But we are. We’re rounding the turn on the pandemic.”
“The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions,” White House physician Sean P. Conley wrote in a memorandum released by the White House. “Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any further developments.”
32. That’s how many days remain until the election, meaning Trump’s positive test promises to throw his re-election campaign into chaos, with quarantine possibly consuming as much as half of his remaining time. The White House already scrapped several in-person events Trump had planned for Friday.
Another way in which the development could threaten Trump’s re-election is through economic uncertainty. Trump has long campaigned on the strength of the pre-virus economy and claimed a rapid and steady recovery, calling it “v-shaped” in the Sunday Fox News interview and stating, “We’re setting records on employment and even the stock market – look how high the stock market is.” News of Trump’s positive test sent U.S. stock futures plummeting, however.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
“Even if Mr. Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will have to withdraw from the campaign trail and stay isolated in the White House for an unknown period of time,” wrote New York Times White House reporters Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker. “If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all.”
LATE BREAKING NEWS
AP News just reported on a White House announcement this morning saying that both President Donald Trump and First lady Melania were both suffering “mild symptoms” of COVID-19, as the virus.
The news of both showing symptoms follows reports late last night of the positive test results. Yesterday, the president was reported to have been seen as ‘tired” with a ‘raspy voice’ by aides in the White House.
REVERSE OCTOBER SURPRISE?
This could not have happened at a worse time for the president and his re-election campaign, capping a very bad week for Trump that began with the New York Times expose reporting the president’s history of tax evasion, failing business history coupled with massive debt.
Trump’s debate performance on Tuesday night was widely criticized and a large number of polls and focus groups watching the debate all gave his challenger – Joe Biden – much higher marks and the post debate polls mostly showed Biden gaining a slight bump.
The Trump 2020 campaign has now canceled several in person events and is currently scrambling to reorganize its October strategy with just a month to go before the November 3rd election and with millions currently voting early across the country.