There was a school of thought that Donald Trump might be humbled by becoming infected himself with the coronavirus, see the light and encourage Americans to stay safe. It lasted about as long as the hope that he would “pivot” to a traditional presidency after his inauguration.
Instead Trump has sought to project the strongman image, flying to the White House by helicopter at sunset, standing on the balcony and taking off his face mask while still contagious, bragging that he feels better than he did 20 years ago and urging the public to neither fear the virus nor let it dominate their lives.
His campaign has sent out fundraising emails preaching a similar if-I-can-beat-it-so-can-you-message, hoping to turn personal and political disaster to their electoral advantage against the cautious Joe Biden. It is very on-brand for a president who views illness as a weakness and seeks each day to make himself the hero of his own reality TV show.
Gwenda Blair, a Trump biographer, said: “Now he is going to be an ‘expert’: he’s had it so nobody can tell him anything. If he ever even paused for a second for any medical advice before, that’s over. He knows more about wars than the generals; he will now know more about the coronavirus than any doctors.”