It’s been roughly a week since we learned that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus and — surprising to absolutely no one — complete chaos ensued.
Mixed messages from White House officials and Trump’s medical staff quickly made it clear that transparency and clarity would not be on the menu for the American people.
Trump’s primary physician Sean Conley released a statement that the president and first lady were “both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence” shortly after Trump announced he had the virus early Friday morning.
Friday evening, the president was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to receive treatment — a complete 180 from the statement his physician made hours prior.
The contradictions continued on Saturday when Conley wrote a positive memo on the president’s condition and said Trump “made substantial progress” since his diagnosis.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, however, gave a completely different response to reporters.
“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning,” Meadows said, “and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
The president was ultimately released from Walter Reed on Monday despite Conley confirming that “he may not be entirely out of the woods yet.”
Throughout a weekend already rife with confusion and uncertainty, a number of Trump’s close associates also tested positive for COVID-19.
No reports or statements from the White House have conclusively stated where or when the president and his allies contracted the virus, but it is heavily speculated that the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event could be the ‘super-spreader’ that caused many of the now 34 confirmed cases linked to the White House, according to an internal memo distributed among the Federal Emergency Management Agency and obtained by ABC News.
Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and many others who recently tested positive for coronavirus were all in attendance at the Rose Garden event.
While I certainly wish no ill will upon the officials afflicted with coronavirus and wish them all a speedy recovery, I just have to admire the karmic element and poetic irony of it all. The super-spreader event that led so many Republicans to become afflicted with coronavirus is the very event that could impede their main purpose for holding and attending it in the first place.
Let me explain.
The Sept. 26 Rose Garden event was held to announce the president’s official nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Just a week after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s unfortunate passing, Republicans banded together in the garden to launch their campaign to push Barrett’s nomination through.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that seating Barrett on the Supreme Court is a top priority for the Republican Party — despite it being completely hypocritical — and said unequivocally, “the Senate will vote on this nomination this year.”
The White House threw all caution to the wind by holding Barrett’s nomination event without any health and safety precautions. Attendees remained maskless and sat practically on top of one another.
Any sane person could have predicted that this kind of event would lead to a spread. Then again, sanity isn’t exactly something we should be expecting from this administration.
Trump and the Republican Party expected the nomination ceremony to give a boost to the president’s reelection campaign.
What Trump didn’t expect was that two of his party’s senators, who happen to sit on the Judiciary Committee, would contract the virus and be unable to attend hearings on Barrett’s nomination.
Throwing a wrench into McConnell’s Supreme Court plans, Lee and Tillis’ diagnoses pushed the majority leader to delay Senate matters until Oct. 19.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, and those of us who actually care about issues such as health care, a woman’s right to choose, marriage equality and more, the Republicans still might be able to pull off seating Barrett before the election.
If Tillis and Lee fully recover and are well enough to attend a vote by late October, which is the likely outcome, they could potentially have enough Senate votes to confirm Barrett and seat her on the Court.
If things don’t go that way, though, and if Democrats can muster the slightest bit of courage to resist the right, then Republican plans of pushing through a third Supreme Court nominee in one Trump term may just be foiled by an event they held themselves.
Gotta love karma.