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President Trump and first lady return to White House

By Sarah Smith

Oct. 6, 2020


President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have returned to the White House just three days after testing positive for the coronavirus and the President being quarantined at Walter Reed Medical Center


President Trump and the first lady were notified of their positive COVID-19 test results on Friday morning. The pair tweeted positive statements and are doing well, Dr. Sean Conley said in a press conference on Sunday. 

Amanda Arnold explains each presidential candidate's platform and asks students how they feel about the race.

The President’s diagnosis came after the first presidential debate and many people are questioning how this will affect future debates and the election.


The first lady announced on Friday via Twitter that the couple were postponing all upcoming engagements until further notice. 

Matthew Flynn, PhD., an associate professor of international studies and sociology at Georgia Southern, sees Trump’s diagnosis as a setback for his rallies and campaigning but noted that most people already have their vote in mind.


“Whether those campaigns actually have an effect on the people’s decision, I don’t know,” Flynn said. “In terms of future debates, that seems up in the air right now. I think there will be an increased focus on the vice-presidential debate that will be coming up soon.”

Jalen Sowells, a junior psychology major at GS, finds Trump’s hospitalization ironic since he has downplayed the virus in multiple tweets and press conferences.

“He acted like it wasn’t a big deal for months,” Sowells said. “Whenever I would watch the news, he was always talking about how good of a job he’s doing controlling it and how everything needs to go back to normal. It makes me feel uneasy knowing he has it because that means he was probably not taking the right precautions like he should’ve been.”

Lara Wessel, PhD. is an expert in presidential rhetoric and has been a professor at Armstrong State University, now GS, since 2011. Wessel is currently studying research on how President Trump’s messaging about masks has been accepted by republicans and non-republicans.

“As far as President Trump and his personal experience with COVID, I think a lot depends on how the next week or two goes,” Wessel said. “Most doctors that I have heard suggest that he is at a pretty dangerous stage of the illness where he is feeling better… There has been a lot of evidence that a few days after feeling better, people can suddenly become much sicker.”

Presidential Candidate PlatformsSarah Smith
00:00 / 06:07

Wessel thought that after Trump was diagnosed with COVID, he would show some more empathy for those who have also had the virus.

After seeing him return to the White House last night and tweeting about how the virus cannot control our lives, Wessel doubts that Trump’s outlook on the virus will change. 

The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 13 with the vice-presidential debate coming up on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. The presidential debate is during Trump’s quarantine period, leaving many questions for the way the debate will take place. 

Flynn noted that some schools in South Korea use plastic around their students’ desks. It may be a good idea for the candidates to be covered with plastic barriers for future debates in a similar way that those students are covered in the classroom. 

Patrick Wheaton, PhD., a communications professor at Georgia Southern, is unsure of how the president’s positive COVID result will affect the rhetoric of the presidential election but would reassess in the next 10 to 14 days. 

“One thing it has done is diverted attention away from his poor performance in the debate and his failure to denounce white supremacy - now the talk is about COVID,” Wheaton wrote in an email. “If anything, I suspect that the President and his supporters will double down on resisting public health efforts such as social distancing and masking and perhaps claim Trump's "recovery" as evidence that others have blown the pandemic out of proportion.”

Since the President has now returned to the White House, he has been seen waving and taking off his mask on the front lawn. While at the medical center, Trump posted on social media that he was still working for the American people.

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