Faking Having COVID-19 Would Backfire on Trump
Is the President lying (again) to improve his diminishing election chances?
Almost as soon as President Donald Trump announced that he and his wife, FLOTUS Melania, had tested positive for COVID-19, conspiracy theorists and skeptics started rubbing their hands together. Was the timing too perfect for it to be true? Could he possibly be faking contracting a virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans to pull in the sympathy vote?
It wouldn’t be the first time he’s done something unthinkable for political gain, or lied spectacularly to salvage his reputation as a winner.
The only way to convince people that you’re not a loser is to convince them that you’re a victim, one of my friends wrote on her Facebook wall. I had to “like” it because it has a ring of truth, even if we’re not talking about Trump. Let’s not forget the infamous 1960 Oscars where Elizabeth Taylor won Best Actress for a middling performance in an awful film (Butterfield 8) over the infinitely more deserving Shirley MacLaine for The Apartment.
It’s widely believed that Taylor won the gong not be a nose, but by a tracheotomy scar. During the voting period, she had almost succumbed to a serious case of pneumonia. A presidential election is hardly an Oscar contest, but in Trump’s eyes, there’s probably not much difference. He’s the ultimate showman politician, so maybe, considering his dismal showing in the polls and the negative attention he’s been receiving for the September 29 debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, he sees this as a way to collect sympathy votes.
Minus the part about using a virus that has killed more than one million people globally for personal gain, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea if this were any other election. If that is indeed what is going on here, however, it’s an egregious miscalculation. Throughout the campaign, Trump has a been playing to his hardcore fanbase, and since they don’t believe coronavirus is actually a threat, it’s hard to imagine them feeling much sympathy for him.
For the most part, the voters who do consider coronavirus to be a serious threat are people who think the reported diagnosis is good news — or a hoax. It’s hard to imagine them switching their election allegiance out of sympathy. And frankly, I believe the number of undecideds have been greatly exaggerated, so using this as a ploy to sway them probably would be a waste of time. At this point, people’s minds are pretty much made up one way or the other.
Meanwhile, if this is a stab at changing the media focus from his tax returns and his failure to condemn white supremacy during the debate, then, as usual, he has miscalculated the media. Once the story of his testing positive has been reported to death, the media will go right back to their regularly scheduled hot topics: The $750 the wealthiest president in U.S. history paid in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and “Stand back and stand by.” These two takeaways from the past week aren’t going away that easily.
The documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who predicted a Trump victory in 2016, offered another interesting theory about why the President might be lying about testing positive, one that actually has nothing to do with swaying voters.
But most dangerously, HE MAY USE THIS TO PUSH FOR DELAYING/POSTPONING THE ELECTION, Moore wrote in a Facebook post on October 2. The constitution does not allow for this, but he doesn’t give a [expletive] about the Constitution. He and his thug Attorney General [William] Barr have no shame and will stop at nothing to stay in power. He may even use this as an excuse for losing.
Then there’s this: He may use his Covid as a pretext to drop out of the race and move Pence to the top of the ticket. Pence would temporarily become President, and then Pence could pre-emptively pardon Trump for all of his crimes.
It’s an interesting theory, but moving Pence to the top of the ticket wouldn’t make him President now, and even if it did, would he have the power to pardon Trump for a crime for which he hasn’t even been formally charged?
Personally, I believe that for once, Trump is telling the truth, and this is simply poetic justice. He’s spent months downplaying the threat of coronavirus, mocking Biden for conscientiously wearing a mask and positioning himself as being not just above the laws of men and women but above the laws of science, too. It was bound to catch up with him at some point.
“Will you shut up, man?” — Biden to Trump during the September 29 Presidential debate
Whatever the net effect of Trump’s alleged COVID diagnosis, self-quarantining might accomplish the one thing Biden, debate moderator Chris Wallace, and virtually no-one has been able to do for as long as Trump has been in the public eye: It could temporarily muzzle him.
For the first 12 hours after announcing his diagnosis, he didn’t make a peep on Twitter. It may not sound like much, but at this point, I’ll take whatever we can get.