President Donald Trump is not the only high-profile Republican to announce a coronavirus diagnosis: A Michigan party leader working with Trump was also diagnosed.
LANSING, MI—President Donald Trump has announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus Friday morning, according to a late-night tweet from Trump.
The announcement comes just hours after Trump told a crowd at the Al Smith dinner “I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country.”
President Trump joins over 7 million Americans who have contracted the disease since the start of 2020, over 100,000 of whom are Michiganders. He has been criticized for spreading false narratives about the virus and intentionally downplaying its severity.
Trump has also campaigned by hosting packed general admissions rallies with thousands of unmasked supporters, including in Michigan last month.
Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the president’s announcement is a reminder of the seriousness and realness of the pandemic. She has remained strong against Trump’s criticisms of her coronavirus policies, which are largely popular with Michiganders and effective in flattening the curve early on.
“COVID-19 is the most dangerous public health crisis America has faced in 100 years,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “It is still present in our communities. It is still spreading. And people are still dying from it every single day.”
Michigan was one of the hardest-hit states in the nation in the early days of the pandemic. Detroit, specifically, had an extraordinarily high death rate associated with the coronavirus.
Trump’s visits to Michigan have been largely without basic coronavirus protections like masks and social distancing, but his opponent Joe Biden has maintained rigorous coronavirus protections when he has visited the state. This included sanitized speaking podiums and limited crowds in attendance. Before his socially-distant visit to Grand Rapids on Friday, Biden and staff all tested negative for the coronavirus.
Two days prior to his diagnosis, Trump mocked Biden’s coronavirus prevention measures during the first presidential debate, accusing Biden of not having enough supporters and undermining the campaign’s commitment to staying safe until the pandemic is over.
The latest Michigan poll shows Biden’s support is actually strong, with a 5% lead according to polling averages aggregated by RealClearPolitics.
Trump is not the only high-profile Republican to announce a COVID-19 diagnosis Friday.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel also tested positive for the coronavirus. She has returned to her home in Michigan after her last known meeting with Trump, potentially bringing the strain of virus infecting the White House to Michigan. Since Saturday, she has been self-isolating in her home, reports Michigan Radio.
McDaniel is the granddaughter of former Michigan Governor George Romney and the niece of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
In her statement, Whitmer wished the Trump family a speedy recovery.
“Here’s the good news. We can beat this enemy—but it’s going to take every single one of us working together to do it,” she said. “Right now the most effective weapon we have is pretty simple: it’s wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth. It’s washing your hands with soap and water. And maintaining six feet of physical distance from one another.”
The example Trump has set for Republicans has encouraged supporters to go unmasked and minimize the severity of the pandemic. Gov. Whitmer said the president’s news should remind Michiganders of the real risk of the coronavirus.
“My sincere hope is that today’s news will serve as a wake-up call to every single American,” Whitmer said. “Right now all 50 states and the federal government have some kind of declared state of emergency. We are all in this together. Let’s all do our part. Let’s all mask up. And let’s get through this together, as one nation.”