Trump’s star- span­gled man­ner


RON TUES­DAY, Don­ald Trump told us he’d re­cov­ered from Covid “and may even be im­mune”. But has he? Is he? You’re prob­a­bly read­ing this on Satur­day morn­ing. There are con­flict­ing sto­ries about when ex­actly Trump tested pos­i­tive for the virus, but the gen­eral med­i­cal opin­ion is that the next 72 hours are piv­otal. Of course he’s still in­fected. Ei­ther the virus will de­cide it’s mostly done with the pres­i­dent, or that it’s only just got started on him. We know that it’s now, at roughly the 10- day point, when Covid fi­nally shows its hand to the per­son it has in­fected. Trump stands on that thresh­old this week­end.

I hope he beats the bug. I have no truck with fools who say they “leapt for joy” when they heard he’d been struck down.

They’re part of the same dim, sheep- like flock who bleated “ding dong, the witch is dead” when Mar­garet Thatcher passed away.

Com­pas­sion is one of the high­est hu­man virtues and to turn one’s back on it with a cheap sneer out of re­flex po­lit­i­cal ha­tred is base.

But back to the pres­i­dent. He’s clearly been call­ing all the shots with his med­i­cal team, rather than the re­verse. The usual doc­tor- pa­tient re­la­tion­ship has been up­ended by raw power. Press brief­ings from out­side his hospi­tal were un­easy.

De­lib­er­ate vague­ness over if or when the pa­tient had been given oxy­gen. Overly up­beat ac­counts of his con­di­tion.

Team leader Dr Sean Con­ley, the good- look­ing 40- year- old Navy com­man­der who was not only talk­ing about his pa­tient but also his com­man­der- in- chief, later tried to jus­tify the eva­sive­ness.

“I didn’t want to give any info that might steer the course of the ill­ness in an­other di­rec­tion,” he said sheep­ishly. ( Uhh? Just talk­ing about some­one’s ill­ness might af­fect its out­come? Since when?)

But of course the un­com­fort­able doc­tor was re­ally say­ing: “Look – the pres­i­dent is watch­ing this on TV back there. He’ll have my head on a spike if I don’t tell you ex­actly what he wants me to!”

Which brings us to this week­end. Trump may have been telling the truth when he said he “feels 20 years younger”. But that’ll be the “rush” from the steroids he’s been tak­ing. Steroids don’t af­fect the virus, they just mask symp­toms.

Even so, it was ob­vi­ous that the pres­i­dent was strug­gling to breathe dur­ing his tri­umphant re­turn to the White House bal­cony.

I felt sorry for him while at the same time ad­mir­ing his chutz­pah as he not- so- se­cretly bat­tled for air.

But I feel sor­rier for the Amer­i­can peo­ple. They’ve been mis­led by the White House med­i­cal team and by their pres­i­dent.

When Ron­ald Rea­gan was shot, and Ge­orge Bush hos­pi­talised, there was frank­ness about their con­di­tion.

With Trump, it’s been spin and eva­sion all week. But by Mon­day we should know the truth of it – ei­ther way.

What­ever you think of him, hope for good news.

POS­I­TIVE AP­PROACH: The next 72 hours will be cru­cial for Don­ald Trump

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