'Too Obnoxious' To Be Stopped By The Virus: People React To Trump's Coronavirus Test
Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET
Americans woke up to the news on Friday that President Trump and his wife, Melania, had both tested positive for the coronavirus. And like with so many issues, the reactions often fell along political lines.
Naji Scott, a Democrat from Philadelphia, said she was initially shocked. "I was just appalled. I'm not surprised that he tested positive," Scott told NPR. "It's sad because I can't imagine how many people he's effected by not wearing a mask and taking the proper precautions."
For some supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden, the news was a reminder of the gravity of the virus. One of them, Monica Scott, said she woke up her husband to tell him the news. She was having breakfast Friday morning with a friend at a coffee shop in Virginia Beach, Va.
"I think we are both hoping, 'Hey, at the very least, this might make someone who hasn't taken this seriously take it seriously,' " the 32-year-old said.
Outside the shop, Inger Goss, a 56-year-old contract sanitation worker, was hauling away recycling bins. She said she distrusts anything coming from the White House and wondered what to make of the news with the election just weeks away.
"First of all, he tells a lot of lies. A lot of things he says he's gonna do he don't do ... and I just don't trust him," Goss said.
Karen Nicolini, of Philadelphia echoes this feeling of mistrust of Trump, and said she is suspicious that news that he contracted the virus may be a political stunt manufactured to influence the election.
"I'll use the words he uses: I think it's fake news," Nicolini said. "To be honest, I really feel that he might be trying to say that he has it and then come up with some cure between now and election to make it seem like it's a miracle and encourage more people to vote for him."
Amelia DaCruz voted for Trump in 2016 and is leaning toward voting for him again this year. She sees the president as strong and "too obnoxious" to be stopped by the virus.
"I'm more worried about Biden because if he got it I think he'd be much more impacted by it," DaCruz said. "I think Trump's pretty resilient and he'll probably power on through it."
DaCruz, 57, acknowledged that it's impossible to predict how any individual's immune system will respond to the virus.
At a Virginia Beach diner near the oceanfront, Gary Crawford, 81, said he's concerned about the president's health and sees him as the "right man for the job."
But Crawford said Trump's response to the pandemic has been lacking.
"It could have been better. Definitely could have been better," he said. "That's the one downfall I have with the way he reacted."
Tony Garcia, 72, is a retired vet and independent voter who is loyal to Trump . He said he felt sympathetic when he learned the president had tested positive for the coronavirus.
"He is the commander-in- chief, and as a veteran, I am going to be loyal to whoever the commander-in-chief is," Garcia said. "I feel sorry that he came down with it. You know, he travels all over the country and he meets a lot of people, and I just wish him and his wife a very speedy recovery."
Laura Lee Ortiz, 48, hopes that the experience will help the president be more empathetic toward others who contract COVID-19. "With this, he's going to have a different perspective of what's going on throughout the country," Ortiz said.
"Once someone faces it themselves it's very different. ... Everybody's gonna see it different now that the president and first lady are going through the same situation a lot of people are going through."