COVID-19: Donald Trump’s contamination in six questions

The American President has contracted COVID-19: what will be the repercussions of his disease in the middle of an election campaign?

What will happen to Donald Trump’s election campaign?

If he complies with the rules of the American public health authorities, the American president must be placed in quarantine until next October 15, the day when he was again to cross swords with Joe Biden during the second televised debate in Miami . The holding of this event is now uncertain. The White House has canceled a political rally in Stanford, Florida scheduled for today, but also two visits by the US president scheduled for Saturday to Wisconsin. “All announced campaign events involving the president’s participation are being transferred to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed,” campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement. Separately, on Friday, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate indicated that the president’s contamination did not change the plans of the upper house to speed up the process of appointing Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the Supreme Court.

On Friday, the White House was still evaluating the possibility of putting the president at the center of a speech to the nation or of a pre-recorded message in order to testify to his good state of health and to reassure the Americans on the maintenance of his presidency. . In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Could the president’s health cause the election to be canceled?

The electoral process is underway in the United States with, to date, more than two million people who have already voted, and nothing can stop it. The ballot date of November 3 is immutable, as is the date of the swearing-in of the next president on January 20, 2021 at noon, in accordance with the US constitution. This has never happened in the country’s history, but if a presidential candidate were to leave the race, then it would be up to his political party to appoint a successor. Oval Office for health reasons, it is the vice-president, in this case Mike Pence, who must then act or assume the role of president in the event of total incapacity, until the end of the mandate presidential. In the extreme situation where the President and Vice President would find themselves unable to run the country, the task would then fall to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, as provided for in the US constitution.

In recent political history, two presidents have temporarily handed power over to their vice-presidents for medical reasons: Ronald Reagan in 1985 and George W. Bush in 2002 and 2007, in all three cases for undergo colonoscopies.

Can Donald Trump’s contamination generate a wind of sympathy in his favor?

Last April, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw his popularity surge suddenly after contracting the coronavirus, from 44% to 66% in the hours following his discharge from intensive care where the 56-year-old man years old had been admitted after developing a severe form of the disease. Its rating is now at its lowest, at 35%, the British denouncing its management of the pandemic. For Donald Trump, the effects of his illness on public opinion are still uncertain. He could pay the price by exposing a fragility that contradicts the image of a healthy colossus he uses to build his character. At 74, Donald Trump, whom his doctor recently described as “theoretically obese”, is among those at risk for COVID-19. In the United States, 80% of COVID-19 deaths are 65 and older. Conversely, history teaches us that the temporary incapacities of a president have often benefited his or her party’s reelection. After coming close to death in 1981, Ronald Reagan was forcefully re-elected in 1984. The death of presidents also ensures the sustainability of their party in power. By losing his life in office in 1923, Warren G. Harding opened the door to 10 more years for Republicans in the White House. The same goes for Kennedy’s death in 1963, which fueled the election of Lyndon Johnson the following year.

How can the vote be influenced by the sudden contamination of the president?

The effect on the vote on November 3 is still difficult to predict, but already groups are trying to take advantage of it. For the Lincoln Project, a political organization of Republicans openly against the current president, his contamination with COVID-19 should “send a clear signal to the Americans who follow him” about the “serious and deadly nature of this disease”, said the group in a statement. “Since the start of the pandemic, the president and his cheerleaders media have amplified dangerously irresponsible messages about the transmissibility, severity and death rates of COVID, ”the group continued. “We hope the president’s supporters will take this into account. […] This disease is not a hoax: it is a killer. […] There is no vaccine available at the moment. Hydroxychloroquinene does not cure COVID or treat COVID in any way, ”the Lincoln Project said, referring to the antimalarial drug Trump promoted last March, without scientific evidence to back it up.

For political scientist Gibbs Knott, who heads the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, the president’s contamination should not change perceptions within his base. “He enjoys a loyalty rarely seen in American politics,” he said in an interview with the Duty. But for independent voters and the undecided, this is a new deal. It underscores his mismanagement of the pandemic and the 200,000 lives lost in the United States. “

How did Donald Trump contract COVID-19?

The likely chain of contamination would pass through the president’s young adviser, Hope Hicks, who was diagnosed positive Thursday. She has been close to Donald Trump on the presidential plane and helicopter this week. The White House reported on Friday that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner had tested negative for COVID-19. The president’s young son, Barron, 14, also. Presidential campaign manager Bill Stepien forwarded a note to his team on Friday calling on members to “go into quarantine immediately” if they have come into contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. Democratic House of Representatives Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that Vice President Mike Pence did not contract the disease. “The continuity of government is assured,” she said. She also denounced the behavior of the American president who, by holding public gatherings and avoiding wearing a mask, had launched “a brazen invitation to the virus”.

Who are the other current leaders who contracted COVID-19?

Donald Trump is the last of the major populists in power to contract the coronavirus, after Boris Johnson, in the United Kingdom, and Jair Bolsonaro, in Brazil. The three men distinguished themselves at the start of the pandemic for having minimized the risk of the disease and decried the protective measures promulgated by their public health authorities. In Boris Johnson’s case, by developing a severe form of the disease, he returned with greater compassion for the victims, but did not change his approach to the political and social management of the disease. The same goes for Jair Bolsonaro, who presented only mild symptoms, and who came out of his recovery emboldened and even more arrogant about the public health messages. “His rapid recovery reinforced his claim that the pandemic is actually not that bad,” said Oliver Steunkel of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in São Paulo in Financial Times last September. “It also supported his image as a superhuman messiah. “

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