On Friday, President Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
Doug Kriner, Cornell University professor of government and an expert on presidential power, says that the president's test undermines his narrative about the virus. Kriner is also the co-author of a recently published study examining how politicians’ rhetoric and media framing affect support for using COVID-19 models to guide reopening policies.
“While President Trump’s announcement that he has tested positive for COVID-19 will raise parallels to prior presidential health scares, perhaps a better analogy is to President Johnson and the credibility gap over administration statements about Vietnam.
“President Trump has repeatedly declared that victory against the virus is right around the corner – or even achieved. Just this Tuesday, he mocked Vice President Biden seemingly for being over-cautious with his almost constant mask wearing. Of course, the daily tallies of cases and tests plainly testified against this narrative. But the President’s own positive test has demolished it in a way consistent statistics could not.”