Donald Trump insists that he’s fine. He feels “extremely good,” in fact, and also “very good.” He’d be happy to get a coronavirus test, he said Friday, if one were ever needed. But, he tells us, there’s no reason. The president is doing great.
While Trump might feel fine—or at least, no different than usual—the people in his immediate vicinity haven’t all been able to say the same. Over the past week or so, we’ve learned about multiple instances of Donald Trump directly interacting with either a coronavirus victim or someone who recently interacted with someone with the coronavirus. Considering how highly infectious this new strain of coronavirus is, someone who has had multiple opportunities to contract the virus might have cause for concern.
But if Trump won’t worry about his own health, it falls on us to worry about it for him. Mr. President, let’s look at the facts.
When could Trump have potentially contracted the virus?
On March 7, it was announced that an attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference had tested positive for the new coronavirus. What’s more, this wasn’t just any normal attendee. This person was at least high-profile enough to have come into direct contact with lawmakers Ted Cruz, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, and Doug Collins, as well as American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp. Schlapp has since self-quarantined, but not before introducing Trump and greeting him with a firm, prolonged handshake.
As his speech came to a close, Trump wandered over to a nearby American flag and embraced it. During that warm embrace, Trump placed his face firmly on his right hand.
Schlapp wasn’t the only CPAC attendee with direct coronavirus exposure to then spend time with Trump. On Monday, before entering his own self-quarantine, Matt Gaetz flew with the president on Air Force One.
Both Gaetz and Schlapp have said that the self-quarantine was out of an abundance of caution and that they’ve yet to experience any symptoms. While this doesn’t entirely remove the possibility that they may have been carriers, it is at least one point in the president’s favor. Unfortunately, this was not Trump’s only potential point of contact with the new coronavirus.
On March 8, Fabio Wajngarten, an aide to President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, posted a photo of himself with Trump—and Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s designated leader of the White House’s anti-pandemic efforts.
Their heads appear to be approximately one foot apart, plenty close enough for a spare saliva or mucus particle to make its way from one orifice to another. Curiously, if you look closely on the right-hand side of the image, you’ll see a number of bizarre smudges and irregularities.