Prayers and criticism as public figures react to Trump Covid news | Do…


Politicians and other public figures in the US and around the world have reacted to the news that Donald Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, have contracted Covid-19 by offering condolences and emphasising the uncertainty that lies ahead, while also pointing out that the president had repeatedly downplayed the pandemic and undermined public health guidelines on slowing its spread.

Acknowledging the gravity of the moment, words of support came from across the political divide. Rev Jessie Jackson, the civil rights activist, wrote: “We must all pray for the full recovery of the president [and] his wife. For whatever religious or political persuasion you may be, we must all pray as millions of people are affected by this disease.”

When the pandemic struck, Jackson had written to Trump urging testing for the 2.2 million people incarcerated in the US – many of whom have died or fallen ill as serious outbreaks spread through the prison system.

Rachel Maddow – a host on MSBNC who has been highly critical of the president – wrote: “God bless the president and the first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery – and for everyone infected, everywhere.”

Tulsi Gabbard, the congresswoman for Hawaii who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, sent “best wishes … during this difficult time”.

Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said Trump’s diagnosis “is a total failure” by the White House team to protect the president.

World leaders, including the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who himself contracted coronavirus, also offered support.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, opted for a telegram to wish Trump a swift recovery. “I am certain that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus,” the message read.

However, many pointed out that Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed the threat of coronavirus and flouted public health recommendations, refusing to wear a mask to protect himself and others from the spread of disease, should have expected this outcome.

The writer Tracy Clayton recalled the moment when the president had suggested people might inject bleach as a treatment for the disease.

George Conway, an outspoken critic of Trump and a lawyer who is married to the Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, wrote: “He failed to protect the country. He couldn’t even protect himself.”


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