Donald Trump’s secretive and bizarre coronavirus diagnosis behavior has included hospitalization and a series of bizarre medical briefings and mixed messages. Both are coming from both the White House and the doctors who are fighting to keep the president from succumbing to a disease that’s killed more than 209,000 Americans this year. It’s also a major campaign issue, as Trump has sent out a “ROID RAGE” rant and even left the hospital to greet well-wishers as he tries to control the optics of his testing positive for a virus he long downplayed. The latest of those bizarre campaign moments, however, came from a surrogate arguing that Trump is best suited for the presidency because his Democratic opponent hasn’t caught COVID-19 yet.
As caught by Raw Story, Trump campaign aide Erin Perrine told Fox News host Sandra Smith on Monday that Joe Biden’s lack of “firsthand experience” with COVID-19 is evidence that Trump is better suited for the next four years in office, essentially saying the president’s “more rigorous” schedule proves he’s more fit for the job.
“Firsthand experience is always going to change how someone relates to something that’s been happening,” Perrine opined. “The president has coronavirus right now, he is battling it head on, as toughly, as only President Trump can. And of course that’s going to change the way that he speaks of it because it will be a firsthand experience.”
As Smith pointed out, the president’s experience with COVID-19 has not been a campaign peg for the Trump administration until recent days when the president himself contracted the disease. Trump himself said in a video message that he had gone to “school” on the disease, suggesting he knew more about coronavirus than others who had read it in a “book.”
““I learned a lot about Covid. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the let’s-read-the-books school,” Trump said. “And I get it. And I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing and I’m going to be letting you know about it.”
And his surrogate doubled down on that rhetoric on Monday, saying those “firsthand experiences” with coronavirus is something that Joe Biden doesn’t have:
“It’s been law and order and it’s been the economy,” Smith said. “Does this become a key issue in the campaign?”
“He’s talked about it all,” Perrine replied. “And listen, he has experience as commander-in-chief, he has experience as a businessman, he has experience — now — fighting the coronavirus as an individual. Those firsthand experiences, Joe Biden, he doesn’t have those.”
In hindsight, framing a positive COVID-19 diagnosis (and an opponent’s lack of a diagnosis) seems inevitable from this campaign, despite how bizarre it is. Trump’s obsessive insistence on controlling the message of his diagnosis is all about optics, because despite the very serious medical condition of the president, the march to election day will continue and votes will be cast. Whether voters will see Joe Biden’s concern with safety and inability to contract a deadly virus as a bad thing is uncertain, but clearly, Donald Trump and his team will try their best to convince voters of that in the coming days.