President Donald Trump’s son Barron had Covid-19 but has since tested negative, First Lady Melania Trump revealed.
Melania Trump said her “fear came true” when 14-year-old Barron tested positive for the new coronavirus.
However, the first lady said, “luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms”.
Both the president and first lady also tested positive for coronavirus – as well as other White House staff – but have since recovered.
At a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, President Trump said: “He [Barron] had it for such a short period of time.”
The president said his son had had a mild case of the virus: “I don’t even think he knew he had it because they’re young and their immune systems are strong and they fight it off.”
He added: “Barron is beautiful and he is free.”
President Trump cited his son’s recovery as a reason why American schools should reopen as soon as possible, a move opposed by teachers’ unions who fear their members could be infected by students.
He told the crowd: “Barron’s tested positive. Within, like, two seconds it was Barron is just fine now. He’s tested negative, right?
“Because it happens. People have it and it goes. Get the kids back to school.”
Melania Trump revealed Barron’s positive test result in an essay entitled “My Personal Experience with Covid-19” on the White House website.
After the first lady and the president received their positive results two weeks ago, she said “naturally, my mind went immediately to our son”.
Melania Trump said it was a “great relief” when Barron initially tested negative, but was concerned he would later test positive for the virus.
“My fear came true when he was tested again and it came up positive,” she said, adding that Barron exhibited no symptoms.
“In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together,” the first lady wrote.
Melania Trump also reflected on her own diagnosis. She said she experienced a “roller coaster of symptoms”, including body aches, a cough and fatigue.
“I chose to go a more natural route in terms of medicine, opting more for vitamins and healthy food,” she wrote.
In her statement, Melania Trump also said the “most impactful part” of her recovery was “the opportunity to reflect on many things – family, friendships, my work, and staying true to who you are”.
She said she would be resuming her duties as soon as she could.
While the first lady remained in the White House, President Trump spent three days at Maryland’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after his own Covid-19 diagnosis. He received a number of different drug treatments, including dexamethasone, a steroid, antiviral treatment remdesivir and monoclonal antibody therapy.
The president’s personal doctor said on October 11 that he was no longer a Covid transmission risk to others, and he returned to the campaign trail on October 12, telling supporters he felt “powerful”.
An event at the White House on September 26, for the unveiling of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, was thought to be the root of the localized outbreak of coronavirus.
The White House press secretary, former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and two senators were among the people around the president who tested positive for the virus.
Opinion polls suggest President Trump is trailing his Democratic opponent Joe Biden barely three weeks before the November 3 presidential election, but polling is close in several key states.
Joe Biden did not have any public campaign events on October 14, but held a virtual fundraiser and delivered taped remarks to an American Muslim association. The Biden campaign announced that it had raised a record-breaking $383 million in September.
The Democrat was expected to spend much of the day preparing for October 15, when he and President Trump will take part in rival televised town hall-style events.
The two candidates have struck different tones on the pandemic, with President Trump downplaying its severity and Joe Biden criticizing him for not encouraging Americans to wear masks and social distance.
The US has recorded more than 7.8 million coronavirus cases and more than 215,000 deaths – the highest figures of any country in the world.
The social media frenzy was sparked when SNL writer Katie Rich posted a tweet just after Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony saying: “Barron Trump will be America’s <<first homeschool shooter>>.”
Donald Trump’s supporter Melissa Earnest posted a number of responses on her Facebook page including one long defense of Barron Trump in which she said: “Whether you like or dislike the Trumps – this is their 10-year-old son. He is still growing and words hurt.”
Her post has already been shared several million times.
Melissa Earnest, who describes herself on Facebook as “wife, mother, businesswoman” began her defense of Barron Trump by stating: “Do you see this child? This child’s life was changed forever when his father was sworn in as President of the United States of America yesterday.
“Long before his father, President Donald J. Trump, was sworn in – this child became the center of hateful online attacks. From a certain celebrity attempting to diagnose him with a neurological disorder with her degree from <<The University of Google>> to now, when a writer from Saturday Night Live decided to tweet saying that he would be the <<first homeschool shooter>>.”
Melissa Earnest concluded: “He is a child. He is to be respected and he is off limits!”
Image source Wikimedia
She first posted a report about Katie Rich’s tweet asking people to “go to Saturday Night Live’s Facebook and plague their page with comments”.
Although Melissa Earnest later posted another message saying: “It was suggested to me that I put the accounts out there for the world to see so that they could be messaged over and over. May I just say that no harassing of any form will be tolerated on this page nor will I partake.”
Katie Rich’s Twitter account was later made private and there were claims that the offending tweet had been removed. But the row continued.
Former White House child Chelsea Clinton waded in with a message that simultaneously supported Barron Trump and took a thinly-veiled swipe at his father.
Chelsea Clinton was 13 when her father was inaugurated.
She was mocked by both talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Saturday Night Live for her appearance.
Similar spats about Barron Trump have been going on across social media.
On Instagram, Modern Family actress Julie Bowen posted pictures of Barron Trump, who seemed occasionally distracted during his father’s inauguration ceremony. She posted: “I think Barron is on his Gameboy. Can’t say I can blame him.”
Julie Bowen’s post attracted a blast of criticism with people also leaving abusive messages on another one of her Instagram posts featuring a picture of her child.
The actress tweeted a response to one of her critics which said: “I love that Barron is a kid being a kid. My kids would be a horror show at a public event! Just trying to keep it light.”
President Barack Obama’s daughters were no strangers to social media abuse throughout their father’s terms in office.
Two years ago Sasha, then 13, and Malia, then 16, were advised in a Facebook post to “try showing a little class”.
The author was Elizabeth Lauten, a communications director for a Republican congressman who added in a reference to the length of the girls’ skirts: “Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”
In the backlash, people tweeted Elizabeth Lauten’s boss, and the hashtag “#FireElizabethLauten” went viral. She posted an apology and later resigned.
Before the Obama girls, President George W. Bush’s 19-year-old twin daughters Jenna and Barbara made their own international headlines when they were cited by Texas police for underage drinking in 2001 when they first went to college.
In a recent letter to Sasha and Malia Obama, Jenna and Barbara Bush acknowledged the pressures that come with being in the spotlight at such young age. On leaving the White House, they reflected: “You won’t have the weight of the world on your young shoulders any more… make mistakes – you are allowed to.
“You have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the White House.”
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