Donald and Melania Trump Positive COVID-19 Test refers to news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had both tested positive for COVID-19. The President announced the news on his Twitter account early in the morning on October 2nd, 2020. The news led to a surge of jokes and schadenfreude among his critics on Twitter as well as discussion about the implications the news will have on the upcoming presidential election.
Early in the morning on October 2nd, 2020, President Trump tweeted that he and his wife Melania both tested positive for COVID-19. The tweet gained over 361,000 retweets, 445,000 quote tweets and 1.3 million likes in less than 12 hours (shown below).
The news led to speculation on how Trump may have contracted COVID-19. His aide Hope Hicks had contracted the illness, leading Trump and Melania to get tested. Furthermore, it led to speculation on if his opponent in the 2020 election, Joe Biden, may have contracted the illness during his and Trump’s debate two days prior to Trump announcing he had coronavirus. Biden was expected to get a test the morning after the Trump announcement. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus, per his Press Secretary. Later in the morning on October 2nd, Trump was reported to be working in the White House residence with cold-like symptoms.
The news led people to speculate on its implications for the election. Trump will be forced to stop campaigning for re-election with the election less than a month away. The next Presidential debate, scheduled for October 15th, is likely also in jeopardy. Overall, experts met the news with uncertainty. Buzzfeed’s politics editor Matt Berman posted a piece titled, “I Am The Politics Editor And I Have Absolutely No Idea What Happens Next,” writing, “When the president of the United States is diagnosed with a virus that has killed more than one million people, 32 days out from the election, some questions about our democracy naturally arise, such as: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH?”
While pundits and foreign leaders sent Trump well wishes on Twitter after the news broke, the general online reaction to the news was one of schadenfreude and celebration, as Twitter users tended to revel in the diagnosis considering how much Trump had downplayed the coronavirus pandemic even as it killed over 200,000 Americans. For example, user @KenanPerry posted a Dmitri Finds Out parody about the news, gaining over 6,400 retweets and 21,000 likes (shown below, top). User @OhNoSheTwitnt posted a picture of Melania Trump’s I Don’t Really Care jacket in response to the news, gaining over 300 retweets and 2,000 likes (shown below, bottom).
— Kenan Perry (@KenanPerry) October 2, 2020
Additionally, some users were wary about if the news was genuine or a fabrication made for an unknown political benefit. Some users speculated Trump may be lying to for political reasons, perhaps to get a boost in his polls or interfere with the election. For example, Twitter user @Murray_NYC tweeted, “Trump is a pathological liar. He demonstrates this daily. Nothing he says can be trusted at face value. He is literally capable of saying anything, including lying about testing positive for the coronavirus if he thinks doing so may help rescue his presidency.” However, others disputed the idea based on the myriad problems Trump having the virus poses, such as the harsh effect the news had on the stock market and making him unable to campaign in the last month before the election. @TheRealHoarse argued that Trump being narcissistic would mean he would not admit to having COVID-19 unless he had to.