What Is Trump Doing To Avoid Getting The Coronavirus?

Politics and pandemics just don't mix. It's difficult to hold rallies and get the political machine in gear without shaking a couple hands and kissing a couple babies. But kissing babies and shaking hands are exactly what medical professionals are telling us not to do. Restrictions on travel, social distancing, self-quarantine ... every one of the steps Americans are being advised to take to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus seems hopelessly at odds with the permanent campaign.

The budding pandemic presents a particular conundrum for Trump, a notorious germaphobe no doubt torn between his instinct to avoid contact and his desire to protect the economy by downplaying the coronavirus threat. Politico went so far as to describe his administration as "the Purell presidency," noting that President Trump has enforced all kinds of new hygiene measures on staff and White House visitors alike. If anyone sneezes, Trump reportedly leaves the room. So how is the big guy handling this latest crisis? According to an article in Vanity Fair – not well.

Trump's public statements about the coronavirus don't jive with his private caution

Publicly, Trump has downplayed the severity of the virus that causes COVID-19. If you're a Trump fan you probably see this as an effort to calm the public and prevent panic responses, like hoarding air masks and food. If you're a Trump skeptic, you see a cynical and narcissistic attempt to buffer financial markets and escape criticism. No matter which camp you fall into, it's clear that Trump's dismissive public stance is seemingly at odds with the seriousness of the self-protection measures he's taking in real life. Trump is well over 70, after all, and the virus appears to be most dangerous for elderly patients.

A source close to the president told Vanity Fair that Donald Trump actually believes the media is creating a false firestorm over COVID-19, and that he wants Bill Barr and the Department of Justice to investigate news outlets for market manipulation. That might suggest that Trump isn't taking any measures to protect himself from coronavirus, but sources also say that's not the case. Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg reports that the handwasher-in-chief is terrified about getting the virus. "Donald is a famous germaphobe," said Nunberg. "He hates it if someone is eating nachos and dips a chip back in after taking a bite. He calls them double dippers."

Trump fears biological attacks from journalists

Trump also allegedly expressed his fear that journalists might intentionally contract the virus themselves and attempt to infect him on Air Force One. According to Vanity Fair's sources, he's "definitely melting down over this" and retreating into his sanitary compulsions. In addition to the hygienic steps, Trump also appears to be shuffling his inner circle in response to the disease. Last week's firing of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was apparently aimed directly at the coronavirus. Trump believed the circumstances were "getting beyond Mick." Ouch.

Phobias aside, the campaign must go on and Trump has given indications that he will not cancel any planned campaign rallies. As the crisis progresses, we'll see if he can really keep up the pace.