Donald Trump is no longer in the hospital for treatment for his COVID-19 infection but despite the rosy rhetoric from his surrogates, the president is still ill, still symptomatic, and still contagious. His decision to ride around in an SUV to feed his ego by waving to his supporters put the lives of the Secret Service agents crammed into the vehicle with him at stake, a deeply selfish move that has now been compounded by his decision to return to the White House and put the staff there at risk too.
On Fox News today, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley tried and failed to defend the president’s reckless behavior. Host Sandra Smith asked him about the now-viral moment shortly after returning to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when Trump stood on a balcony and ripped his mask off in front of cameras before heading inside, sending a dangerous message to the country about the necessity of masks in the process.
“Okay, a couple things there again. The president’s alone on the balcony outside. He takes his mask off! Flip over a few channels. Take a look at MSNBC. Joe Biden is sitting there without a mask next to Lester Holt without a mask,” said Gidley trying to shift the focus to Biden despite the fact that the former vice president regularly practices social distancing and mask use.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous to hear the media go apoplectic over this and by the way I didn’t hear any concern when members of the media take their own masks off inside the Briefing Room and turn around and do live shots,” Gidley went on, unleashing a torrent of unrelated attempts to distract from the behavior of the president.
“Hogan, one big difference is that the president is currently shedding the virus. He’s still in the middle of the ten-day virus phase,” pointed out Smith, immediately shutting down the Trump minion’s inane talking points. A simple rejoinder to be sure, but a perfect evisceration of Gidley’s bad faith talking points. There is no excusing the president. He’s carrying a deadly virus and doesn’t care who he spreads it to. Whataboutism can’t hide that.
Not a particularly successful attempt at whataboutism pic.twitter.com/EP31D8CjVm
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) October 6, 2020
To make matters worse, CNN’s fact-checker pointed out that Gidley’s claim that Trump was alone on the balcony was either a mistake or a lie, as images of the incident show a photographer standing closely behind the president. The simple, undeniable fact is that Donald Trump does not care who he infects. He’s entirely fixated on his own ego and political career and if he thinks there is something to be gained personally from actions that happen to endanger others he’s more than happy to pursue them.
Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley just claimed on Fox that Trump was “alone on the balcony outside” when he was maskless.
He was not alone. There was a photographer right behind him. He then walked inside, and there were at least two other people visible near him there. pic.twitter.com/HbG6PcdzNj
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 6, 2020
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