In one of the more mystifying reactions to President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld suggested Friday that the president didn’t protect himself from the disease because “he didn’t want America to hide from the virus.”
Gutfeld’s comments came as the White House announced Trump was being transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following his diagnosis.
“Maybe it’s a flaw of Trump, is that he didn’t hide from the virus,” the Fox News personality said. “And the reason why he didn’t hide from the virus is he didn’t want America to hide from the virus. If he was going to ask America to get back to work … and experience a risk, he was going to do the same thing. He was going to walk out there on that battlefield with you and not sit somewhere in a basement and tell you how … you got to get back to work but not go out himself.”
His comment about the basement is likely a dig at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has followed public health experts’ advice to social distance from others and wear a face mask. Trump has mocked both those things, frequently telling his opponent to “get out of the basement” and, more recently at Tuesday’s presidential debate, ridiculing him for wearing a mask.
“I think he put himself … on the line, and the flaw being that, as an optimist, as somebody who is trying to convey a message that we’re going to get through this and things are going to be better, he had to walk that walk,” Gutfeld said.
That’s not the message Trump needed to convey to Americans, most public health experts have said throughout the pandemic. The president’s downplaying of the dangers of the coronavirus, dismissing the usefulness of masks and social distancing, refusing to order federal safeguards against the spread of disease and pushing unproven treatments have all helped the disease spread across the country. With more than 200,000 deaths from the virus nationwide, the U.S. has the highest death toll in the world.
Trump and White House officials said Friday that he was being hospitalized “out of an abundance of caution” but that he did have a low-grade fever.
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