Trump's diagnosis puts truth and reality back at center stage

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with CNN's Don Lemon about President Donald Trump and Melania Trump testing positive for coronavirus.

Posted: Oct 2, 2020 6:11 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2020 6:11 PM

Truth reasserted itself. It has taken center stage back from a man who has spent months during a world-threatening pandemic telling lies that repeatedly put those under his charge in harm's way.

Nothing President Donald Trump says now can distract us from the reality of his diagnosis with Covid-19.

He can elevate a doctor who has claimed alien DNA was used in medical treatments and falsely claims that hydroxychloroquine is a cure for Covid-19; he can purposefully downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus in public; he can suggest Americans should inject disinfectant into their bodies; or claim Democrats and the media have ginned up criticism of his response to the virus just to harm his re-election chances. He can turn away from the graves of the more than 210,000 Americans who have been killed by the virus.

But none of it will work this time. Because this time truth has shown up in unfamiliar terrain -- in the person of Trump himself.

The truth is that usually during a moment like this, with the president infected with a disease that has killed over a million people, the country would want to rally around him. Just months after a contentious 2000 election, the country rushed to support President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, pushing his approval rating to a record high. That shouldn't happen with Trump because these aren't normal times. They aren't normal times because of the President and his own actions and inactions. And that makes me even angrier about all the lies he's repeatedly told and his intentional flouting of what the world's best doctors and scientists have been saying.

Like I do for everyone who gets infected with Covid-19, I hope Trump comes out of this as physically healthy as he went into it. I'm hoping that after 14 days of quarantine, he'll be stomping around like he was on Tuesday night's debate stage. I wish this illness on no one. I refuse to allow myself to respond in any other way, despite my disdain for his long parade of dangerous falsehoods and actions. Abandoning my integrity, my character just to get in a superficial, short-term dig about Trump, that would be too high a price to pay. He can't have that part of me. He won't have that part of me.

That doesn't mean this development has caused me to feel affection for him. It hasn't. It won't. Trump has been reckless. He has been irresponsible. His behavior has imperiled not just those in his immediate orbit, such as White House staff and aides and a Supreme Court nominee, or the thousands of people he kept inviting to large rallies, some of them indoors.

It has imperiled the stability of the United States of America. It has undermined our global status. It has affected markets. And it has surely convinced many of his supporters to flout health guidelines and scientific findings in ways that have led to harm, and possibly even death.

That's the power of the presidency. That's what he has been treating like a plaything, like a toddler playing with matches. The American public gave him the greatest privilege -- and responsibility -- known to humankind in this country. Instead of respecting the gravity of what he was handed, he not only squandered it, he also weaponized it -- and we are his forever victims.

Now we must wait to get updates from his administration -- which has been one of the most openly dishonest in modern history -- before we'll know the extent of his illness. We know he's in one of the highest-risk categories because of his health status and age. We don't know how the coronavirus will affect him in particular. We don't know if we'll ever really know, because though the truth has reasserted itself in an undeniable way, there's little reason to believe a man like Trump will embrace it even now.

That's why this isn't a rally-around-the-flag moment. That's why this isn't a time to pretend that people's anger and disappointment in a man like Trump is unjustified. That's why it would make no sense to have faith that he will do the right thing now -- even after truth wrested the spotlight Trump so craves -- because he never has.

The rest of us must. We have to stand in the breach and do right no matter how many times the President does wrong. Because our lives -- and our character as individuals and as a country -- depend on what we do during a time like this, no matter what Trump does.

I wish the president well, a speedy recovery. But, frankly, he isn't atop my list of concerns. How our country is going to recover from the tenure of a man like this is.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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