It was probably inevitable, given how many hands he shakes and how many events he attends, that President Trump (and the First Lady, Melania) now have come in contact with someone who tested positive for the China Virus. That would be Hope Hicks. I would imagine that being quarantined with either is probably the answer to every man’s dream unless you’re a soyboy from Antifastan. The President has only “minor symptoms,” according to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and I’m guessing he has been on HCQ for some time.
How will this affect the race? Way too early to tell. President Trump says he will be ready to go for the next debate, and given that there was some lag time between when Amy Coney Barrett was with the President, her nomination should not be slowed in any way. Given the senate schedule that Senator Lindsey Graham set out, we are looking at confirmation around October 24-26, but this could drift by a few days. It would be fitting if President Trump held the (unofficial) swearing-in ceremony on Halloween!
He would be well-served to do a live town hall with radio host Rush Limbaugh using Limbaugh’s “24/7″ members as the audience who is allowed to ask questions. This would be incredible, and Rush’s audience would be at least 40 million. All the networks would have to cover it as well.
Meanwhile, the China Virus continues to be an American version of Chernobyl for many states. For example, New York City is finally admitting that it has a major problem. Yes, of course, it has a problem named De Blasio, who hasn’t helped. But the bigger issue now is that the City may have real difficulty every re-opening. According to the New York Times, unemployment in the City is at 16%, or much higher than the national average; personal income is forecast to fall by $2 billion this year, and only one-third of the hotel rooms are occupied. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s even that many. No one can go to restaurants, and Broadway is shut down. The leisure sector lost 44% of its jobs. Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, and Century 21 have all declared bankruptcy. New York City already has a $9 billion debt. For perspective, this is 1/3 larger than the national debt of Barbados.
Nationally, vacation and leisure-related industries are also down. Disney, for example, plans to lay off 28,000 employees as the parks are not making it with limited attendance, social distancing, and masks. And that’s at Disney World and the parks that are open. Disneyland and California Adventure are still shut. Overall, California and Michigan continue to struggle.
Now, with the President infected, the Left is beside itself, lecturing on the necessity of wearing a mask, and that we are nowhere near the end. It doesn’t help that Senator Mike Lee, on the Senate Judiciary Committee has also tested positive.
Naturally, everyone wants the President, the First Lady, and Senator Lee to recover very quickly. President Trump will do 10, not 14, days of quarantine. But if the worst should happen, what becomes of . . . well, everything?
- In the case of the Amy Coney Barrett nomination, it would proceed. Even if President Trump passed away, Vice President Pence would take over and there would be no change in the nomination. This occurred under President Richard Nixon, who resigned before his nominee was confirmed. She would not have to be renominated.
- However, if one senator changes his mind—say, Mitt Romney—this would be a problem because if Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski all decided to oppose ACB, now President Pence could not break the tie and he would not have a veep in place to break the tie.
- If something happened that President Trump was unable to finish the race, electors are freed to vote for Pence as President even in states where electors are pledged to support the winner of that state.
So how will this play out with the election, assuming as I do that Trump will power through this? It could very well generate a wave of sympathy for the President. After Ronald Reagan’s near-death by an assassin, the public showered him with support that protected him for almost a year—his most difficult year as the recession was still going on. While it’s possible, it’s unlikely that public perceptions of Trump would be worse, despite the Democrats’ best efforts to revive the China Virus Chernobyl for all Americans. In short, this aspect of Trump’s infection is too soon to tell. But don’t be surprised if his polls don’t go up by 3-4 points in the next couple of weeks.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author with Michael Allen of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: the American President, and the founder of the Wild World of History curriculum website with full US and World History grades 9-12 curricula for homeschoolers and educators, complete with teacher guides, student workbooks, maps/graphs, tests, and videos to accompany every unit (www.wildworldofhistory.com).