As extreme measure to protect him from catching the virus have ramped up, Trump pretends to move on from the still-raging pandemic.
He refuses to wear a mask in public when he travels, but every venue the President enters is inspected for potential areas of contagion by advance security and medical teams.
Bathrooms designated just for the President’s use are scrubbed and sanitized before he arrives. Staff maintain a close accounting of who will come into contact with the President to ensure they receive tests.
The White House has phased out steps like temperature checks and required mask-wearing in the West Wing, those around the President still undergo regular testing.
After Trump told aides at the beginning of the outbreak he must avoid getting sick at all costs, efforts to prevent him from contracting the virus have progressively become more intensive and wide-ranging.
That was clear even before Trump landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a rally last Saturday night. In the hours ahead of his arrival, a handful of campaign staffers tested positive for the virus. In the days since the rally, several more have been found to have contracted it.
CNN has learned that ,
A third White House staffer who was recently in Trump’s vicinity also tested positive. According to two sources familiar with the matter, the staffer is a senior economic official who was in the Rose Garden with Trump during an event this month. Because of privacy concerns, they are not naming the individual.
The President has told officials repeatedly that he cannot get sick and he’s alarmed when people close to him contracted the disease, seeing in their experiences a fate he was adamantly working to avoid for himself.
Trump, who has long defined himself as a germaphobe, openly chastised aides who coughed or sneezed in his presence even before the virus. But amid the pandemic, any signs of respiratory sickness have been met with glares from the President. When Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told a briefing she’d had a fever and self-quarantined, Trump jokingly backed away.
In the 80s and ’90s openly discussed his success in avoiding a sexually transmitted disease —
He told Howard Stern,
“It’s Vietnam. It is very dangerous. So I’m very, very careful”
He also took the controversial step of taking a round of hydroxychloroquine in a bid to prevent coronavirus. Though the drug has not been proven to prevent infection with coronavirus, Trump had publicly touted its benefits and he announced midway through his round that he was taking it. Later, his doctor said Trump’s medical team used an electrocardiogram to closely monitor the President’s heart while he was taking the drug since some studies have suggested it could cause severe heart problems.
Trump’s abrupt trip last October to Walter Reed National Medical Center remains the source of questions and speculation, even among some of his aides. The White House insisted the trip was meant to get a head start on his yearly physical, but it was not announced ahead of time and the results of the physical were not released for another six months.
As Trump attempts to pretend to move on, the protective bubble around him has grown thicker.
But people familiar with the matter say the precautions also stem from Trump’s own insistence that he not contract the disease and his heightened awareness of how a sick President would affect both the country’s view of him and his ability to command a response to the pandemic.
Update: Apparently Trump isn’t the only senior official afraid of getting coronavirus, VP Pence just postponed his Arizona & Florida campaign events due to COVID-19 spike in those states.