Trump Is Going All Out In Right-Wing Media To Convince People He’s ‘Cured’ Of COVID-19
In the four days since President Donald Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, his medical team has not held a single press event where reporters have had the opportunity to ask questions about the President's health. They only delivered a daily letter with sparse and sometimes contradicting information so the whole country has no meaningful information on the health of a 74-year-old president contracted the novel coronavirus.
Trump has instead taken a manic stroll through tweets, bizarre taped videos, and appearances on friendly conservative media to announce that he is healthy again. This public relations campaign will culminate on Friday night with a televised prime-time health exam by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, conducted by pro-Trump associate Marc Siegel, an internist and frequent Fox News contributor.
The likely absurdity of this feat - Siegel is not only unreliable, he will remotely conduct the "test" and it will be recorded - underscores that it is not just Americans who are not getting any real information about the president's health 25 days before the election. However, there is a high chance that they will be actively misled.
Siegel is Fox News' medical analysis point of contact and has appeared on the channel over 300 times since the beginning of the year. During the pandemic, he has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that tend to fit in with the White House's narrative about coronavirus. He downplayed the threat of COVID-19 early on, Fox News host Sean Hannity said in early March that "the worst scenario, it could be the flu," and promoted the unproven anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for the virus.
Marc Siegel, internist and frequent contributor to Fox News, downplayed the threat posed by COVID-19 as the pandemic began. (Photo: Cindy Ord via Getty Images)
Siegel has also continuously endorsed Trump's response to the virus, praising U.S. states that have lifted coronavirus lockdowns despite increasing cases. He has campaigned for schools to reopen and defended Trump for holding rallies and events. After Trump contracted the virus, Siegel told Carlson that he saw no problem with Trump working from the Oval Office, although he may be contagious.
Trump's medical stunt at Fox News is a natural extension of his symbiotic relationship with the broadcaster. The president has reached out to Fox News repeatedly for information about the coronavirus. He has held private meetings with hosts Carlson and Laura Ingraham about the pandemic and belching up topics of conversation he sees on the network.
Trump also hired Scott Atlas, a doctor who appears frequently on Fox News, as a member of the White House's coronavirus task force - an appointment criticizing medical experts, CDC director Robert Redfield and dozens of former Atlas colleagues at Stanford University to have . "Everything he says is wrong," Redfield said of Atlas on NBC News.
This depth of misinformation creates problems outside of the public eye if one knows Trump's true health. Not only did the president's PR campaign aim to convince people that he's already recovered, but that COVID-19, which killed over 210,000 Americans, just isn't that dangerous.
The president kept pushing the story forward that despite being in the hospital for three days last weekend receiving extra oxygen, he feels great. "Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life," tweeted Trump on Monday, adding: "I feel better than 20 years ago!"
Trump and his administration have repeatedly downplayed the severity of the virus since the first US pandemic. Now, his inaction has seemingly cornered him, forcing him to pretend he's feeling fine and ready to go back to work - although the majority of COVID-19 patients experience symptoms for at least two weeks , for some even longer.
Despite being in hospital for three days last weekend, Trump returned to the White House on Monday. The move violates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that those who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate at least 10 days after symptoms first appear.
Trump's hypocrisy has put him in a difficult position and created some really bizarre situations. Aside from a national televised medical exam conducted by an unqualified partisan doctor, Trump has had many moments over the past week that have shown how desperate he and his administration are to prove that he is fully recovering from the coronavirus Has.
Even before Trump left the hospital, he took a jaunt with several intelligence agents on Sunday to wave to his supporters. He has been sharply criticized for endangering the lives and health of agents for personal political gain. During the week, he tweeted several videos of himself informing him of his condition, including one saying it was "a blessing from God" that he was infected, and then mistakenly a "cure" for him announced the coronavirus.
Trump was hoarse and coughing during a phone interview with Hannity on Thursday. At one point the president lost his voice when he accused his opponent Joe Biden of "gagging like a dog" during last week's presidential debate.
Although Trump himself has coronavirus, he announced that he would suspend all talks about another COVID-19 aid package until after the presidential election and delay integral aid for millions. White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said this week that there is not enough time to pass another COVID-19 stimulus package before the elections because the government is too busy to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice.
It took Trump just two days to go back on his previous statement and tell right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh on Friday that he "wants to see a bigger stimulus package" and is doing "exactly the opposite" of what he was doing about the termination earlier the week of the auxiliary negotiations.
The second presidential debate, originally scheduled for next week, is currently in the air after Trump refused to attend because organizers announced that it would be held "practically to protect the health and safety of all concerned". The president is still pushing for a face-to-face debate, despite being positive about COVID-19.
Trump has repeatedly pushed for more rallies - large gatherings that health experts have warned could further spread the coronavirus - as the election approaches. He has said several times this week that he would like to run campaign rallies, but nothing has materialized. Instead, he's been content with "virtual rallies" like the one on Limbaugh's Show and carefully staged media appearances, with sympathetic presenters willing to advance the story that neither Biden nor coronavirus can defeat Trump.
Trump, infected with COVID-19, takes off his mask to enter the White House full of employees
Rasping Trump insists he's in great shape as the voice breaks in Wild Hannity Rant
Trump is hosting a personal event at the White House a week after the hospital visit
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