Trump Meets with COVID-19 Survivors


by Sharon Rondeau

Donald J. Trump, official White House photo, public domain

(Apr. 14, 2020) — Early Tuesday afternoon, President Trump met with approximately a half-dozen COVID-19 survivors, including Michigan State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who has credited him with saving her life.

While telling her story, Whitsett revealed that three of her extended family members passed away from the virus:  a cousin, the cousin’s father-in-law, and another relative.  As has been reported in the mainstream press, Whitsett heard Trump touting the capabilities of hydroxychloroquine against the virus and, with some difficulty, was able to obtain a prescription for it.

Whitsett said she had difficulty breathing and was convinced she was “going to die” until she received the medication.

Whisett said she contracted Lyme disease as a child in Detroit and is a chronic sufferer.  She has had trouble obtaining treatment for the condition in her area, she said, after which Trump extended the offer of a consultation with the White House physician “before you leave,” for which she thanked him.

Trump speculated to Whitsett that she would not be “voting for Sleepy Joe Biden,” to which she smiled but did not respond verbally.

Whitsett was seated on Trump’s left, with her husband seated to her left.  On Trump’s right was Vice President Mike Pence.  Across from them were several more survivors, including a young man who said that when he became ill in early March, he had difficulty getting tested.  He described himself as a very healthy individual who “gets sick every other year or so” and said of the coronavirus that he “had never felt that bad before.”

When Trump asked him his age, he said, “34,” after which Trump said, “You have a long life ahead of you” and wished him well.

Another survivor was a former NFL tight-end acquainted with former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.  With him, Trump spoke about the sport, the Patriots, Brady, and the man’s football experiences over a ten-year period.

“You’re a big, powerful guy, and this little bug knocked the he** out of you,” Trump said.  He commented that he found the roundtable discussion “fascinating” as a result of “all different people” from various walks of life relating their experiences.

Trump asked him if he “took the hydroxychloroquine,” to which he responded, “Yes,” and that along with that, he was given azithromycin and zinc, a combination touted by a number of physicians for treatment of the coronavirus.  Azithromycin is also known as “Z-pac.”

The mainstream media has criticized Trump for promoting hydroxychloroquine without a medical license and purportedly based on insufficient evidence.  However, several physicians have vouched for its efficacy against coronavirus.

Two survivors, a husband and wife, were on the cruise ship “Diamond Princess” when the illness struck, they related.

The disease has taken the lives of nearly 22,000 Americans, the CDC reported on Monday, and nearly 555,000 have tested “positive” for the virus.  During the broadcast of Trump’s meeting with the survivors, Fox News reported the number of deaths as “more than 23,000.”

At Monday evening’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Trump said that approximately 28 million doses of hydroxychloroquine have been distributed across the country for combating the coronavirus.

After speaking with the former NFL player, Trump said he had expected the meeting to last “five minutes” but that he found it very enlightening.  “We’re winning our battle; we’re winning our war and will be announcing some new things in the very near future,” he said.  As on other occasions, he said he believes the total number of deaths will be under the 100,000 earlier predicted.

Pence recognized those lost and the “more than 44,000 Americans who have recovered.”  He thanked them for telling their stories and pledged that the Task Force will work “every day” until a vaccine is made available.

Trump suggested that “a cure” could be available in the future as well as therapeutics which now appear to be effective.

As he closed, Trump asked the members of the press present if they are going to “report him for being a horrible person” as a result of his offer of a medical consult between Whitsett and the White House physician.  None audibly responded, although shouted questions were directed to him after he officially adjourned the meeting.

Trump said that at Tuesday’s press conference, he will be announcing the members of a new task force which will be formulating a plan for the U.S. economy to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated, April 15, 2020, 8:37 a.m. EDT


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