WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joe Biden and members of Congress, including some of President Donald Trump’s harshest critics, are wishing him and first lady Melania Trump a speedy recovery after they announced early Monday they have been infected with the coronavirus.
Some Democrats, however, still took jabs at Trump for being dismissive of the illness he has now contracted.
“(Wife) Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery,” tweeted Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee. “We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Biden’s running mate, tweeted: “(Husband) Doug and I join Joe Biden and Dr. Biden in wishing President Trump and the First Lady a full and speedy recovery. We’re keeping them and the entire Trump family in our thoughts.
In an interview with NBC News, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “Let us just all pray for the president’s health -- thank God the vice president has tested negatively and the second lady, as well.”
Other Democrats tried to strike a balance between wishing the president well and renewing their criticism of his handling of the pandemic.
In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said: “I wish President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and any White House staff members who are infected a speedy recovery. I join the nation in praying for the First Family’s health and safety.”
But he added: “[W]hat happened to President Trump is a reminder of why the whole country, including Senators and staff, must follow the science and follow the protocols laid out by the CDC and public health officials. When you ignore the science, you don’t wear a mask, and you don’t follow social distancing guidelines, it puts you and everyone around you at risk.”
Similarly, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said he wishes “the President, First Lady, and White House staffers a speedy recovery.” But he then attacked the president’s family for not wearing masks during Tuesday night’s debate in Cleveland and Trump for trying to get the Affordable Care Act overturned in the Supreme Court.
“The President downplayed this virus for months, undermined scientists, shown he would rather focus on a Supreme Court power grab than a COVID relief package that includes worker protections, and refused to address this pandemic in a serious way,” Brown said.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, meanwhile, accused acting White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows of still not taking the virus seriously after Meadows held a briefing to update the press on the Trump’s condition. Meadows has been in close contact with the president but tested negative for the virus.
“It's just incredible,” Murphy wrote. “The White House is still, even today, openly violating CDC guidelines - costing lives. Meadows should not have given that briefing. Even if you test negative, you must quarantine for 14 days if you have been in contact with someone who is positive.”
In a subsequent tweet, Murphy quoted guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says: "Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus."
Republicans, as expected, were completely supportive of the Trumps.
“President Trump is a fighter—through and through,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California tweeted. “Please join me in praying for a complete and speedy recovery for him and our First Lady!"
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kenutcky wrote on Twitter: “Happy to hear the White House physician’s report that @POTUS and @FLOTUS are feeling well following their positive tests for COVID-19. Let’s continue to pray today and every day for our President and our First Lady and for all those impacted by COVID-19.”
In a later tweet, McConnell said he had spoken to Trump by phone and that the president was focused on the confirmation of his Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally, tweeted: “Like most Americans, I’m wishing President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS @MelaniaTrump a speedy recovery,” he said. “ The president was in good spirits this morning when I spoke with him and very engaged in the upcoming hearing regarding Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Barrett.”
Graham wrote in another that he was “disgusted by those wishing ill on the President and First Lady,” but it’s unclear to whom he was referring.