Robert Cairns: Trump learned nothing from battle with COVID

Daily Star-3 months before

I mean, he lies about everything, and all the polls show a large majority of Americans hold him responsible for the incompetence he has shown in handling the epidemic. What better way to gain some sympathy?

Even when he was taken to Walter Reed Medical Center, walking to the Marine One helicopter as well as he ever does, I suspected a hoax. His tweeted videos and chauffeured joyride outside the hospital didn’t change that, nor did the performance of White House physician Sean Conley, who gave stories to reporters and later walked them back.

I became a believer three days...later, though, when Trump was released from Walter Reed and returned to the White House — which, by the way — has its own hospital within its walls.

As he stood on a balcony, clearly gasping for breath and looking every minute of his 74 years of age, it was obvious that this was a sick man.

Being human, I felt sympathy. I hoped for his recovery. I also hoped the experience would instill in him some empathy, some understanding, some acceptance of the science behind the pandemic and a change in his message of ignoring the steps that could help slow the spread of the disease.

He even claimed to have learned something, saying in one of his videos, “I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the let’s read the book school and I get it. And I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing. I’m gonna be letting you know about it.”

I don’t believe for a moment that he knows what it’s like to learn something from reading a book, but I do respect experience, and looked forward to seeing how the experience would shape his future actions regarding the pandemic.

Unlike some, I don’t begrudge the president the extraordinary care available to him, even if it’s not available to all of us. It’s important to the nation that our head of state be as well cared for as possible. I do think, however, that the treatment that resulted in such a quick, apparently complete, recovery fed into Trump’s hubris, just as so many other advantages in his charmed life have done.

I was not surprised to learn that Trump had floated the idea of wearing a Superman costume under his dress shirt and ripping open the shirt to reveal it when he left the hospital. It’s cheesy. It’s a very Trump thing to do.

I don’t know who talked him down from that, but I’d like that person to negotiate my next automobile purchase.

He has returned to political rallies filled with people who are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. It’s as if the superspreader event he hosted at the White House for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett — where many White House staffers and some GOP senators were infected — never happened.

Instead, he claimed he is immune, which is possible, but not known. His own words, as usual, from a tweet: “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

Twitter, not exactly known for its fact checking, flagged the tweet for violating its rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.

Trump offered to “kiss everyone” at a Florida rally on Monday. On Thursday, he was back at it, disparaging Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina.

With the virus still on the rampage, it’s sad that Trump continues to act as if it’s not. We can be glad he survived a life-threatening disease, but we must remember that nearly 218,000 Americans did not and the number continues to grow.

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