- President Donald Trump released a video applauding the drugs and treatments he received while sick with COVID-19, and claimed that his infection was a “blessing from God.”
- The five-minute video carried a similar tone to that of Trump’s campaign rallies, with the president riffing on his regular talking points about the pandemic.
- Trump never mentioned COVID, COVID-19, or coronavirus by name, instead repeatedly blaming China for the pandemic.
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President Donald Trump released a video applauding the drugs and treatments he received while sick with COVID-19, and claimed that his infection was a “blessing from God.”
Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on October 2. He said on Wednesday night that he was feeling better soon after he received experimental drugs, including an antibody treatment administered late last week. He suggested those treatments should be available to all Americans, free of charge.
“We’re trying to get them on an emergency basis. We’ve authorized it. I’ve authorized it,” Trump said.
As yet, no antibody treatment has received emergency authorization from the FDA, but at least two companies, Regeneron and Eli Lilly, are seeking it. At turns, Trump sang the praises of the COVID-19 treatments he received while also looking to sell viewers on the same.
“If you’re in the hospital and you’re feeling really bad, I think we’re going to work it so you can get them and you going to get them free,” Trump said in his Wednesday night video, adding: “If you’re a senior you’re going to get them quick.”
Trump claimed the treatments weren’t just “therapeutic” but constituted a “cure” for the novel coronavirus.
Currently, there is no known cure for COVID-19.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
Notably, Trump never mentioned “COVID,” “COVID-19,” or “coronavirus” in the five-minute video, instead referring to the virus as “it.”
Karen North, a communications professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, told Insider there are two reasons why Trump took this approach.
“One is that his brand is that of strength and power. And so portraying himself or showing himself to be weak or sick is not an image that works well for him personally, or for him in terms of the PR or marketing point. It’s just not who he is,” North said.
She explained that from a diplomatic perspective, it is important for US leadership to look strong, and said Trump’s self-portrayal in the video could serve that purpose.
Trump has long sought to minimize the impact of COVID-19, even as the death toll from the virus has surpassed 210,000 in the US. But the president’s remarks about it on October 5: “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life,” was criticized as tone-deaf, given the destruction the virus has caused.
North suggested Trump’s motive for posting the video of himself Wednesday night were clear. “It showed him to be incredibly energetic and upbeat, and it showcased the treatments he received.”
Those treatments, however, would not be accessible to most Americans, and would likely not be free.
The New York Times reported that in the American health system for anyone who isn’t the president, the helicopter ride to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a three-day hospital stay, and the various tests and treatments Trump received would cost over $100,000.