The fact that Trump and his wife, along with other White House staff, have tested positive for the virus is a repudiation of everything Trump and said and claimed about the virus. This highlights Trump’s politicization of the pandemic to suit his needs to feed gruel to his base. He wanted to come across as a strongman ruler, accountable to none, and loyal to only himself and his gullible base. The virus, though, has proven a greater adversary than most, and represents the October Surprise that Trump was hoping would be in his favor. It’s a virus that knows no boundaries nor makes little distinction among victims. It just lies in wait like a thief in the night, waiting for those who disdain its very existence, infecting those who take no precautions in defending against it. To hell with masks and social distancing and testing, they say. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
Covid is not at all a stealth adversary. It makes no pretense of hiding itself for it comes on surfaces and through the air alike. It wears no camouflage. It hides behind no masks. It does not disguise its voice, nor does it act like a double agent skulking about in the shadows of noir settings. It simply is what it is, a virus that acts like any virus humans have encountered. It makes no apologies for having stumped scientists as to its actual cause. It does not consciously deceive so as to prevent those scientists from devising a cure or vaccine. It kills many people but so have other viruses that have appeared in history. It’s part of the territory of this planet, a risky place, to say the least.
So how will Trump’s contracting this virus affect his re-election campaign? I suspect the right wing media and his cult base will minimize it as they have every other Trump transgression and indignity. It’s the swing voters and undecided voters that may be most affected by a president showing medical vulnerability. He likes to portray himself as strong, aggressive and invulnerable–a tough guy–but this microscopic virus, like David slaying Goliath, has revealed the true nature of the “Wizard of Oz” behind the curtain.
This obscure virus, supposedly caused by human careless interaction with wildlife, has brought a pandemic that has virtually shutdown the world’s economy, driven millions into unemployment, killed over a million worldwide and over 200,000 in the United States, and has now infected its autocratic, authoritarian president. It may well be the nail in the coffin of Trump’s desperate run for another term. I surely hope so.