A week after top congressional Democrats condemned President Tweety McTreason for suggesting that he might have contracted Covid-19 from Gold Star family members who were too close to him when telling stories of their loved ones who died in the line of duty, the commander in chief once again floated the idea at a campaign rally on Saturday.
“And you know, I’ll tell you what, as President of the United States I met with Gold Star Families the other week. I meet with a lot of people, I cannot – I have an obligation – I can’t lock myself into a basement in the White House. I can’t lock myself into a beautiful bedroom at the top of the White House, where there is no risk of nothing,” Trump told the crowd. “I am the President of the United States, and I would often say, I meet people, like the Gold Star families, they lost sons and daughters and husbands in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places.
“And I can’t say I want to cancel the meeting and I met about 48 families. And you know, when they come up to you, and they’re close to you and they were tested and all but you know there’s questions all about everything. Right?” he added.
“There’s a very difficult situation, and when they come up to you and they want to say my son was so brave, and they want to tell you the story, it’s amazing, I mean,” Trump continued.
Trump once again insinuates that Gold Star families gave him Covid, then says, “I got better fast. I can now jump into the audience and give you all a big kiss. The women and the men. I’ll kiss those big powerful men down there.” pic.twitter.com/z9wNo4jDyT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 18, 2020
The comments echoed similar remarks he made in an interview with Fox Business earlier this month.
In the interview, Trump told host Maria Bartiromo that he “figured there would be a chance” he would become infected with the coronavirus, citing his meetings with the families of America’s war dead at the White House on Sept. 27.
“Sometimes, I’d be in groups of, for instance, Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that,” he said. “But they all came in, and they all talk about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story.”
Trump explained that as he was being told these stories about fallen service members, “I can’t say, ‘Back up, stand 10 feet,’ you know? I just can’t do it.”
The Gold Star family members “come within an inch of my face, sometimes,” Trump said. “They want to hug me, and they want to kiss me. And they do. And, frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it.”
Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah said Trump was not blaming Gold Star families for potentially infecting him and that it was unlikely he contracted Covid-19 from the event.
“His point was merely that in the timeframe that he was potentially exposed, there were a number of different venues he’d been at and individuals he had interacted with that it could have come from — and by no means are blaming anyone who was present,” Farah said. “And we did take a lot of precautions for that event. So based on contact tracing, the data we have, we don’t think it arose from that event.”
“Whether he intended it or not, the President has blamed an event with families who lost their loved ones in battle for giving him COVID. That is a shocking statement even for this President,” Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
“He must immediately apologize. Failure to do so would be yet another example of his callous disregard and disrespect for the women and men of our Armed Forces who we ask to stand in harm’s way,” Reed said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill that Trump’s comments underscore the need for the administration to disclose when the president last tested negative for the coronavirus.
“It is a very important question for our country, because now the president is saying that he probably got this from the Gold Star families,” Pelosi said. “Can you believe that he would say such a thing?”