When presidents lie – in a hospital

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    ‘When Presidents lie, a nation is put at risk. When they lie about lying in a hospital bed especially because of a highly contagious infection like COVID, the lie is ten times more despicable.’

    THE much-ado-about-Trump-and-COVID continues, no thanks in part to the conflicting stories emanating from White House officials and Trump’s doctors, compounded by actuations of the Commander-in-Chief who is locked in a tight battle for re-election.

    What we know so far is that over the weekend the President and the First Lady made public the results of their COVID tests (positive) and that the President had to evacuate to Walter Reed Medical Center upon the recommendations of his doctors.

    From the hospital he has been tweeting and waving to supporters from his window; then he took a joy ride in his specially armoires Suburban van so he could wave to his supporters, until finally Monday (US time) he was discharged and went home to the White House from where he again waved to supporters while standing sans a mask on the While House balcony.

    That all happened in a span of four or five days.

    During the same time there were conflicting reports about his condition. While his White House doctor kept saying he was fine, a White House official off the record told reporters that his condition was unstable. Separately, at a press conference outside the hospital, the

    White House physician, when asked if the President had ever been on oxygen kept repeating his answer: “The President is not at this time on oxygen.” And news reports that the medical team had been giving the President medications that only had emergency use authorization (including some steroids) seemed to indicate that the patient’s condition was far more serious than was being admitted.

    Throughout the whole ordeal Trump kept projecting an image of someone hardly affected by the virus, and instead was someone now more “knowledgeable” about the affliction that has killed over 200,000 Americans and affected 7.5 million more.

    “No one knows COVID better than me; I know COVID better than the doctors” is what I can imagine Trump boasting in his next speech.

    But the drama does raise so many questions coming as it does in the heels of a bad first presidential debate with less than 30 days to go before polling day. Was it a stunt, to generate sympathy? To knock out Biden from the news cycle? To avoid a second debate?

    Note that there has been no update on the health of the First Lady.

    If he were really infected, why release him from hospital after just four days when protocols require quarantine for over a week? Why allow him (again) to be seen in public sans a mask, when he remains infectious? Why indeed is the COVID-in-Chief acting as if he had been down with just a common cold?

    Trump is not the first president who is conscious of his health issues. John Kennedy was, too, doing his best to hide his Addison’s Disease (as well as his man boobs) from the press and the public. Before him, Franklin Roosevelt was conscious of his polio and did what he could to not be seen in leg braces in public. Grover Cleveland had a tumor removed on a yacht; Woodrow Wilson’s syphillis affliction was described as fatigue, and William McKinley’s health conditions were hidden from the public. Only Lyndon Johnson dared show the press the scar on his stomach.

    It’s a matter of keeping the image intact of a man in charge and in control of his senses.

    Anything else would make him look weak.

    And you can imagine how that is such a no-no with Donald Trump. He needs to project an image of strength and of being in control. Even if it means endangering the lives of others by attending events without a mask (assuming he is positive) or, worse, faking an infection so he could miraculously recover in so short a period of time.

    When Presidents lie, a nation is put at risk. When they lie about lying in a hospital bed especially because of a highly contagious infection like COVID, the lie is ten times more despicable.

    But I guess that’s how politics is played today. In America. And almost anywhere else.