Conservative columnist slams Trump for ‘setting a horrendous example’ by not getting a needed coronavirus test

Conservative columnist slams Trump for ‘setting a horrendous example’ by not getting a needed coronavirus test
Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Over the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida, President Donald Trump met with Brazilian official Fabio Wajngarten — who serves as communications secretary for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Wajngarten has since tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, but Trump has reportedly refused to be tested. And conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin slams him for it in her Washington Post column, declaring that Trump is “setting a horrendous example” and putting others at risk.

“We can’t know for sure whether or not the president is carrying the virus,” Rubin warns. “If he is, he could potentially spread it to others, including people in high-risk categories: the elderly — which includes many senators — and those with compromised immune systems.”

The Never Trump conservative goes on to say, “By refusing — if we believe the denials —  to get tested, he poses a possible threat to others and sends a powerful message contradicting health officials’ pleas for self-quarantine. He is, of course, in frequent contact with the vice president and cabinet members.”

Rubin describes the presidential line of succession that exists in the United States, noting that Vice President Mike Pence would take over as president if Trump were unable to perform his duties — and the third person in that line is the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who is, of course, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California. And Rubin stresses that if the president won’t get tested after his meeting with the coronavirus-positive Wajngarten, Pelosi should protect her own health by only talking to Trump and Pence over the phone.

“I do not suggest this lightly,” Rubin writes, “but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is next in line after the vice president, should decline to meet in person with either Trump or Vice President Pence. It is not necessary that she make a public to-do about this, but she simply should talk by phone if needed. It is far from clear how much contact she has with them anyway; so, this might be no big deal.”

Rubin, one of Trump’s most blistering critics on the right, has made no secret of her views on his response to the coronavirus pandemic: she believes Trump’s handling of the crisis has been abysmal — and not getting tested after meeting with Wajngarten, according to Rubin, only makes things worse.

“One step Trump could take as he tries to rescue his credibility would be to start modeling appropriate behavior,” Rubin asserts. “That would include getting tested and following whatever instructions doctors give to patients who have been exposed but are asymptomatic…. This is one crisis he cannot manage by puffery and denial.”

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