[NB: Check the byline, thanks! Updates, if any, will appear at the bottom of the post. / ~Rayne]
So…back on August 22, I asked folks to offer their best bets on what Team Trump would pull for an October Surprise given the long history of such election gaming in American presidential politics.
I suspected Team Trump would try to force both the Durham investigation to announce a skewed finding, and development of a COVID-19 vaccine through testing and approval by some time in October.
But I didn’t have Trump testing positive for COVID-19 on the bingo card of possible surprises.
President Trump says he and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for coronavirus https://t.co/aJPmxqSaEb
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 2, 2020
Only one community member, Terrapin, saw that as a possibility (and not with a good outcome).
But after all the squirrelly reporting around Hope Hicks’ positive test earlier on Thursday, it wasn’t clear when Trump and his wretched wife were tested and with what kind of test.
Is this being gamed, too?
Trump managed to shoot himself in the foot politically again by blaming military personnel as the source of Hicks’ infection:
… Trump suggested Hicks could have contracted it from members of the military or law enforcement.
“It is very, very hard when you are with people from the military, or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them,” the president said. “You get close, and things happen. I was surprised to hear with Hope, but she is a very warm person with them. She knows there’s a risk, but she is young.” …
Exposure to COVID-19 didn’t cause that kind of stupid.
The situation is annoying no matter how much anyone may like/dislike Trump. He’s still the White House’s occupant, still the president and commander-in-chief even if the means by which he came to those roles has been in question since day one. The American people deserve better transparency about the health of the person occupying the White House and whether he is or isn’t incapacitated at any time.
The other challenge before us: After mocking his opponent for wearing a mask, Trump was on stage this week with Joe Biden, and neither wore masks during their debate. Trump spent a lot of time pushing aerosols as he spoke and may have been contagious.
A whole host of other problematic scenarios emerge:
Just noted on MSNBC by @JonLemire: Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who is around Trump often, has spent time in the last 24 hours or so with Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Might Meadows and Barrett have to quarantine? If so, what would that mean for the confirmation hearings?
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 2, 2020
The October Surprise may be one we never thought of or planned for in August.
What other fresh surprises should we expect this month before the election?
~ ~ ~
UPDATE-1 — 12:00 P.M. 02-OCT-2020 —
No, fuck no. This Brit needs to do some basic research, like reading the U.S. Constitution before flapping off like this.
Why postponing the US election would now be a good idea | Sean O’Grady https://t.co/aO7AbYXoXi
— The Independent (@Independent) October 2, 2020
Trump tried to float this same lead balloon back in April. Not going to happen; that’s why he attacked the U.S. Post Office to damage its capacity to handle ballots on a timely basis.
Rick Hasen has already written about the possibility Trump leaves office due to illness or death before the election, and how that might be handled.
For some time, commentators have routinely discussed what would be “the October surprise.” Now it is here, and it involves something truly alarming––the state of the President’s health, and what it all will mean for the governance of the United States. https://t.co/mh3Zugmjpn
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 2, 2020
Just wish I knew how they’re going to wrap up this season — will it be a series finale?
the 2020 writers’ room lost us with the murder hornets but oh baby they back
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) October 2, 2020
Would be nice to know how to hedge this. My retirement fund is getting seasickness from all the ups and downs.
~ ~ ~
UPDATE-1 — 7:00 P.M. 02-OCT-2020 —
Trump has been taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His doctor says he’s been given Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody infusion — a drug cocktail which is still in testing phase. Earlier reports said Trump was running a low grade temperature.
Look, it’s time for media people to do a better job of reporting by which I mean GET THE TIMELINE OF EVENTS.
Did the temperature come on before/after going to Walter Reed?
Was the infusion administered before/after going to Walter Reed?
Do you see what I’m getting at?
Going through Twitter I can piece together part of the answers:
Mid-day — Trump did not attend a conference call for which he was scheduled; VP Pence attended in his place a planned discussion about COVID-19 support for at-risk seniors.
4:11 p.m. — Press Sec McEnany released via Twitter a copy of a memo from Trump’s physician, Sean P. Conley. Conley wrote that Trump received the Regeneron infusion as a precautionary measure.
4:18 p.m. — NBC News reported President Trump has a low-grade fever.
5:19 p.m. — CNN reported Trump would be transported to Walter Reed.
6:17 p.m. — CNN’s Jim Acosta reported Trump didn’t take questions as he walked to helicopter Marine One.
Based on what little I pulled together, it looks like Trump received an experimental drug administered by IV at the White House, that he continued to experience symptoms typical of COVID-19 including a temperature, and that he was then moved to Walter Reed.
Something is still missing in this tick-tock. Why did the President of the United States receive an experimental drug? When was it administered today, or was it administered last night before/immediately after the positive test was reported? Why was he moved to Walter Reed after the infusion rather than before it was administered?
Were they waiting for the goddamned market to close before they revealed he received this drug therapy? Or that they decided to move him to Walter Reed?
Pay attention to the timing.
And note the black holes: there’s no mention of hydroxychloroquine, no mention of Gilead’s remdesivir (though this may not be administered this early in the illness and only to more seriously ill patients).