President Donald Trump announced that both he and the first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 early Oct. 2. He’s been moved to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, but not much is known about his condition. There have been reports that Trump’s showing symptoms and will remain at the hospital for the next few days.
U.S. presidents have been in life-threatening conditions before, and some have even died in office, but nothing quite this unique and specific has occurred in the history of the country. During a pandemic that so far has taken the lives of millions, especially the elderly, the oldest U.S. president to ever take office has contracted the virus, and all of this happened right in the middle of the presidential election. It’s possible that American citizens might be casting votes for a candidate that won’t be alive to take office.
The public response to this is important, and there’s only one kind of ethical response — and that’s to wish the individuals a safe recovery. When someone, especially the leader of a country, is infected with a potentially fatal virus, there’s absolutely no circumstance where it should be cause for celebration.
Trump’s announcement was met with much support and expected wishes for a safe recovery, but some couldn't be more excited about the president’s condition and publicly rejoiced, even calling for his death.
“The Irony of Trump catching a disease he let thousands and thousands of people die of is quite delicious,” said popular music reviewer Anthony Fantano. “Even if it wasn’t vegan, I wouldn’t stop eating it.”
Fantano isn’t the only one to speak out in this way. Hundreds of celebrities and public figures have taken part.
I hope he suffers through this and dies as he’s losing on election night.— A$AP CURRY (@lisa_curry) October 2, 2020
“PLS DIE PLS DIE PLS DIE,” musician Nedarb said in a now-deleted tweet.
These aren’t random trolls on the internet. These are role models, the people American citizens are supposed to look up to. Each of these people have thousands of followers and a verification mark from Twitter.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to Trump. When his brother Robert Trump passed away in August, the internet erupted with laughter as #wrongtrump went trending on twitter.
“Dear grim reaper, you took the #wrongtrump,” Bishop Talbert Swan said. And yes, this man is a real pastor.
Disagreeing with the president’s political ideas isn’t grounds for this kind of attack. To wish death upon a man and his family for political disagreement shows a failure to think before acting on emotions. It shows a lack of ability to properly articulate what one’s problem with the president is and a lack of humanity to feel empathy for the sick and dying.
Not once in history has a smart and empathetic human being said anything like, “PLEASE DIE PLEASE DIE PLEASE DIE!” This isn’t how politics or being human should be done.
Evan Holden is a sophomore political science major. Contact Evan at firstname.lastname@example.org.