"It’s bound to bring out the best, the worst and the most insincere in us. The leader of the free world has fallen ill with a disease that his government has failed to contain. He is clinically obese and aged 74, both raising his risk of complications. Even so, his odds are good: most estimates put the survival rate for his risk profile over 90 per cent. But Covid could still deliver a big knock to his health and campaigning ability in the last five weeks before Election Day.
Predictably, there were those who could not restrain their spite, like the actor Dominic West and a former Hillary Clinton aide called Zara Rahim. Mr West “jumped for joy”; Ms Rahim declared that she “hope[s] he dies”. Others, political allies and opponents alike, declared they were praying for the president. Advocates of the popular QAnon conspiracy theory, who believe that Donald Trump is waging a heroic war to defeat a secret ring of Satanic paedophiles who control the world, claimed to have decoded Mr Trump’s tweet announcing his infection and concluded it was part of a brilliant plot “TO GET HER” – that is, to arrest Ms Clinton.
His survival, by far the more likely outcome, could nonetheless have unpredictable consequences. He may brush off Covid easily, affirming his self-image as “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”. Perhaps it would help his struggling campaign and encourage him to take an even more relaxed policy approach to the pandemic, unlike our own Prime Minister’s brush with death.
On the other hand, Mr Trump might suffer weeks of debilitating symptoms, irreparably damaging his macho persona and undermining his claims to have controlled or mitigated the impact of coronavirus. A lengthy illness might generate some good wishes and sympathy (as well as schadenfreude), but publics generally do not re-elect severely ailing septuagenarians, especially when gripped by the sense of crisis affecting the US. His replacement by Vice President Mike Pence would leave the Republicans precious little time to make up any lost ground, although if Joe Biden commits some politically fatal gaffe, Mr Pence could conceivably ascend the throne by default." Juliet Samuel
"a secret ring of Satanic paedophiles who control the world,"
An intriguing image and conception. Was Juliet thinking of the Tri-lateral commission, the Bilderburgs, old Etonians, or the College of Cardinals? pl