As America braces for a pandemic, some are being political about the deadly coronavirus — and others, just plain vicious.
The leader of a Charles Koch-funded think tank suggested that it would be “poetic justice” if President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19 and died, the Daily Caller reported, amid reports that the president may have been exposed to the disease.
“Serious question: could there possibly any greater poetic justice in the universe than for Trump to die of the #CPACvirus,” Berin Szóka, the president of think tank TechFreedom, tweeted Monday, according to the Daily Caller.
Recent reports of an infected attendee at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) raised concern that President Trump might have come into contact with a carrier of the disease. Two Republican lawmakers who were exposed, Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL) and Doug Collins (GA), came into contact with Trump after the fact, the New York Post reported.
Gaetz has since revealed that he tested negative for the disease, while Collins is not showing any symptoms.
The president’s incoming chief of staff Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also went into self-quarantine after CPAC. The reports raised at least a faint question over whether Trump, who Democrats have accused of downplaying the threat, may catch the virus himself.
Szóka, for his part, took the opportunity to make light of Trump’s exposure, but then deleted his tweet and made a watered-down apology, saying that the tweet came from “concern” for Trump — an odd defense considering the use of the phrase “poetic justice” — and, to be safe, noting that the joke “doesn’t express [his] organization’s opinion.”
“I’d never wish death upon anyone but I get why people read it that way. For that, I’m sorry,” he wrote, according to the Daily Caller. “Like many, I’ve been distraught at systematic downplaying of this crisis. My tweet came not from a place of malice but from deepest concern. It doesn’t express my organization’s opinion.”
Does Trump have the virus?
The White House confirmed Monday that Trump has not been tested for COVID-19 because he is not showing any symptoms and has not come into contact with any known carriers of the disease, CBS News reported. The president himself said that being tested “not a big deal” to him and suggested that if he had contracted the disease, he hasn’t noticed yet.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal. I would do it. I don’t feel any reason. I feel extremely good,” Trump told reporters on Capitol Hill, according to The Hill. “I feel very good, but I guess it’s not a big deal to get tested and it’s something I would do.”
The president has also maintained that there is no need to cancel his raucous rallies, even as cases and mortalities continue to pile up every day.
Ironically, the free trade policies advocated by libertarian-minded policy wonks like Szóka may have made the coronavirus outbreak worse. Several conservative figures, including Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson, have made the point that COVID-19 is exposing the very dangers of a world shaped by globalism and relaxed trade relations with China.