Donald Trump

Does Trump's Weird Hospitalization Jeopardize the Peaceful Transfer of Power?

A vigorous disagreement on The Reason Roundtable

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By the time you read these words, even more employees at the White House will have tested positive for COVID-19 than detailed in the already-lengthy list this morning from Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown. What, if anything, does that tell us about the patient-in-chief, his coronavirus polices to date, and the post–Election Day future?

There are vigorous differences of opinion on these questions in today's Reason Roundtable podcast. Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Matt Welch, and Katherine Mangu-Ward debate tail risk, peaceful transfers of power, erratic behavior, media hyperventilation, local corona-bungling, congressional money-printing, endless lockdowns, and more. The gang also previews this week's vice presidential debate, explores the Sherlock Holmes–superhero connection, and talks about South Park's Pandemic Special.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.
Music: "City Lights," by Audiobinger.

Relevant links from the show:

"Here's Who Has Tested Positive for COVID-19 in Congress and the White House," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Presidential Disability: A Quick Summary," by Eugene Volokh

"Will the Senate Have a Quorum to Confirm Judge Barrett?" by Jonathan H. Adler

"Public Disclosure of Presidential Illnesses," by Jonathan H. Adler

"It's Way Past Time for the Rest of Us To Get the Same Access to COVID-19 Testing That the Trump Family Enjoys," by Ronald Bailey

"Conspiracy Theories Abound After Trump Tests Positive for Coronavirus," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"The Post-Pandemic 'New Normal' Looks Awfully Authoritarian," by J.D. Tuccille

"Lockdowns Intended To Preserve Our Health Are Making Us Poorer and Angrier," by J.D. Tuccille

"Donald Trump Says Joe Biden Is the Candidate of Perpetual COVID-19 Lockdowns," by Robby Soave

"As Airlines Begin Layoffs, Nancy Pelosi Promises Bailout," by Eric Boehm

"Scott Barry Kaufman on Narcissists and Libertarians," by Nick Gillespie


NEXT: Scott Barry Kaufman on Narcissists and Libertarians

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  1. “Media hyperventilating.” Yeah never happens here no sir.

    1. To think CNN and Wapo didn’t take all the dumb takes, Reason found one to take.

      1. No chance I’m listening to this, but just curious, who said the peaceful transfer of power was in jeopardy, and what stupid reasons did ENB and Welch give to support it?

        1. Er, no ENB, so Suderman.

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    2. The answer to ? Headline is always “no”.

    3. What transfer of power?

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    5. unreason delusional again because Trump will be winning reelection and the GOP will gain seats in the US Senate.

      1. You butthurt is going to be immense when he loses. I highly recommend you gird yourself for disaster.

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  2. Why would it there is no reason why it should affect the outcome this is just stupid. I have a frendly liberal client the other day say how this changes everything and people probably won’t vote for him. I asked “why, I mean why literally Why, people including presidents get sick if he survives fine if he doesn’t then we move on to pence”. we have laws for this type of thing. its not a big deal. and btw he is not the first president to be ill nor would he be the first to die in office if he were to die. Believe me Trump even ill is still better than Biden with his two brain anurisms to date.

    1. BTW i didn’t listen to the podcast since the whole idea is just f ing stupid get over it

    2. Now he’s immune to covid, but Biden isn’t. If anything, this brings Trump MORE votes.

      1. It might, if people weren’t fucking idiots. But they are, so in the end it probably won’t make much difference. I doubt anyone who was planning on voting for Trump will change their minds and vote Biden because Trump caught the coof. And anyone who was planning on voting for Biden won’t change their minds because Trump caught the coof either.

        1. You’re right, the segment of voters who could be swung by this has got to be extremely small.

          1. On the other hand, to be sure, they both work here – – – – – – –

        2. I doubt anyone who was planning on voting for Trump will change their minds and vote Biden because Trump caught the coof.

          Especially considering that a good number of people on both sides, auspiciously or not, are voting for/against Harris anyway.

    3. and btw he is not the first president to be ill nor would he be the first to die in office if he were to die.

      It’s like they think FDR just really liked using a wheelchair.

  3. The peaceful transfer of power between Donald Trump and… Donald Trump?

    1. or Trump to Pence and god forbid to Pelosi.

      1. That is the interesting point. The election will take longer than usual, Trump can stretch that out with court challenges, but only until January 20, 2021. After that he must either have won, he lets Biden have it, or he end his term undecided and Pelosi takes over.

        1. This isn’t the dumbest fanfic I’ve ever seen, but it’s close. The next congress starts weeks before the presidential inauguration and all indications show that Republicans are taking the house back.

          1. Don’t let the name fool you, he’s a fucking lefty shitstain that lives in a fantasy land.

          2. All indications?

            I am pretty good at google and I can’t find anything to suggest it is likely.

            1. This is the problem with the internets today. Everyone can tailor their information stream to fit their needs. And so you get this bizarre reality where two people hold mutually exclusive outcomes in their head as foregone conclusions. And this is why the riots will come fast. (I am certain of it!)

  4. He’s already out. Give up.

  5. the sky is closing in!

    1. You mean the walls. The walls are closing and *any day now* Trump will be arrested for treason.

      1. the walls are falling!

        1. In Putin’s America COVID catches President.

        2. The sky is closing in!

      2. look at the bright side — if Trump is reelected, the Dems will have 4 more years to finally get him.

  6. Josh Barro May 31, 2016, 2:11 PM

    In investing, risk requires compensation. Investors will expect a higher return from a risky bet, and — conversely — will pay for certainty. It’s why you pay double-digit rates on your credit cards, while the federal government can borrow for next to nothing.

    Let’s apply this analysis to the election. A Hillary Clinton presidency is the safe bet. She offers, more or less, an extension of the Obama presidency. You might think that that’s a bad return, but at least you know almost exactly what it is.

    ROFLMAO!!!! How’s that that investment in the ‘short tail’ Clinton stock paying off? LMFAO *wipes tear, clutches ribs*

  7. Noted medical doctor and specialist Jennifer Rubin declared that Walter Reed should lose funding and the doctors lose their licenses. Apparently she is an expert in epidemiology and must be listened to at all cost.

    The WaPo conservative everybody give her a round of applause.

    1. Jennifer Ruben is just a rabid dog with terminal TDS, unleashed every now and then to bark about Trump, Trumpsters, and Trumpism. And she’s got no convictions of her own, as she’s been shown to switch on conservative positions overnight just because Trump embraced them.

    2. Rubin has turned into a national treasure. Catching up to biden.

      “The reason I was able to stay home (during the pandemic) was because some Black woman was able to stock the grocery shelf.” – Joe Biden

      1. I hadn’t heard that one. Wow

        1. It was this afternoon.

          1. No. It can’t be. I mean, I hope to god this is true, but it just can’t be.

            1. Googled it.
              It’s true.

            2. He cant get out of his own way. Why he is a national treasure. Not a president, but a treasure.

            3. Wow. Can you imagine if Trump had said this? It would be played non-stop on TV.

      2. Jesus Fucking Christ.

      3. We have one black woman at the Walmart where I work, and she’s a cashier

          1. Seriously laughed out loud.

          2. Poor baby.. Not even one year old and already has his thousand yard stare perfected

      4. Eh, I’m actually going to give him a pass on this one. He at least acknowledged that there have been people working since the beginning to keep things going, unlike the useless managerial class who seems to think the shelves get restocked by magic.

        1. He brought in multiple races into the discussion.

        2. unlike the useless managerial class who seems to think the shelves get restocked by magic

          Are you trying to say that Joe’s grocery store shelves are actually stocked by black women?

          I fail to see a substantial difference between thinking the tooth fairy exists and knowing that she doesn’t exist because she doesn’t leave money for black kids.

          1. No, I’m saying that there have been blue-collar workers doing the same shit they’ve been doing since before this self-imposed lunacy started.

            The same sheltered suburban liberal “keep your ass home” fucktards never quite seemed to grasp that the only reason they could keep their useless asses at home collecting a paycheck for doing nothing, was because of some lower-wage service class worker going in and possibly getting the coof every day for months. Biden said it in a stupid way, but he’s literally the first liberal I’ve seen mention that this was all going on while his main voting base was “staying the fuck home.”

            1. “No, I’m saying that there have been blue-collar workers doing the same shit they’ve been doing since before this self-imposed lunacy started.”

              Very true, but contemplate this: Why did Biden feel the need to bring race and/or gender into the comment?

    3. Dude, that tweet storm was fucking hilarious. It was a Twitter version those ChinkTok videos of Problem Glasses Chicks freaking out after Ginsberg passed away.

      1. “Problem Glasses Chicks.” Using it.

  8. If we are going to hear about all the meds Trump is on, and the possible behavior-changing side effects, then maybe we should see a list of the meds that Biden is on.

    1. What meds do they give you for dementia?

  9. Oxygen deprivation is the real concern here as Trump just sucks up all the oxygen in the room.

    1. Trump’s brain is working “n”th times more than Democrats, so it needs more oxygen.

  10. Ah, I get it now. “Peaceful Transfer Of Power” is the media buzzword for the month. I thought it was just a “when did you stop beating your wife” type rhetorical trap for Trump, but it looks like the media is trying to associate the election with a transfer of power in order to get people to think past the sale, as they say. Hence, it needs to be shoehorned into every headline possible, like this one about…Trump being sick with a flu.

    1. it’s code for “will you give up if you lose, even if it’s obvious the Dems cheated?”

      1. Or should I say, “even if it was a mostly honest election?”

        1. Did it intensify?

    2. They did the exact same thing in 2016, and then quickly shifted gears when it turned out to be Hillary Clinton who lost and then refused to accept the election result.

  11. Suderman goes full TDS. Trump will be fine! You’ll be fine! Bunch of weenies. If you want to socially distance, do it yourself! And stay away from grandma and grandpa. It ain’t that hard.

  12. Oh naaaw! Donald Trump is protecting us!! What are we gonna do “in” “this” “crisis”?!!

    1. Peter “Korean Missiles” Suderman

  13. Did Nick join some sort of cult?

    1. He gets a little wobbly when he isn’t wearing his leather jacket.

  14. I had the Covid. I’m 10 years younger than Trump and not at all fat but I do have high blood pressure that’s completely under control as long as I take my magic medicine. I was pretty sick for 48 hours and pretty much back to normal in 4 days. In my experience this flu was mostly the same as every other flu I’ve had. Just an inconvenient pain in the ass but with no long term consequences. The one symptom that was unusual was the chest constriction which I didn’t notice until I got out of bed and tried to do shit. At this point it looks like Trump is on about the same recovery path that I experienced. If that’s the case he’ll be ready to get back to work by the end of the week although he’ll probably play the quarantine game so he doesn’t have to listen to a bunch of crap about killing grandma.
    Most people don’t know anyone who has had this flu let alone died from it. If they see Trump make a full recovery, which is more the rule than the exception, they may start wondering what all the panic is about.

    1. Answer: “If they see Trump make a full recovery, which is more the rule than the exception, they may start wondering what all the panic is about.”

      Question: why did the media immediately test run the idea that Trump never really got Covid.

      1. You apparently missed the stories loudly asking what would happen if Trump died before the election that came immediately after it was announced that he had tested positive for covid, Stories going so far as to speculate about presidential succession issues with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

        1. No I saw them. But the propagandists had to prepare for a quick recovery too.

        2. No I saw that. The propagandists has to be prepared for a quick recovery too though. The other is just wishful thinking.

      2. Because Trump and his campaign have the media frantically dancing to their drum.

        “Anonymous insiders question if trump is faking it”….within a day Trump is at Walter Reed
        “Anonymous insiders say Trump is far sicker then we are being told”….within a day he is doing fan driving tours.

        When are the media gping to realize their rabid tds is so severe, the Trump campaign is using it to make them dance.

    2. We’ll see what happens but it’s quite probable that he caught a mild strain like you did. If that’s the one that’s getting passed around his staff, they’ll probably recover in short order as well.

      Leftists are coping by posting Herman Cain’s timeline, but Cain had stage 4 cancer and was going to get dick-slammed by Corona-chan if he caught it anyway.

      1. We’ll see what happens but it’s quite probable that he caught a mild strain like you did. If that’s the one that’s getting passed around his staff, they’ll probably recover in short order as well.

        Slight disagreement. I’m pretty sure that he’s in the clear, but that dexamethasone is some powerful stuff. Get halfway up the mountain, start coughing, hacking, and bleeding into your lungs, take a dose of it, walk down on your own power, get treated. Hard to say if he caught a mild case or if he caught a regular case and is hopped up on the corticosteroids that are treating the symptoms.

      2. We’ll see what happens but it’s quite probable that he caught a mild strain like you did. If that’s the one that’s getting passed around his staff, they’ll probably recover in short order as well.

        That’s not how it works. The severity of COVID depends primarily on how your immune system reacts to the virus, not the strain.

    3. What, you caught Covid? This virus seems to target Republicans for some reason. Maybe it’s a deep state conspiracy?

      Also, here is a humbling Herman Cain coronavirus timeline.

      1. Jfc, the comments in that Twitter thread are as toxic as this place. Wishing for someone’s death is despicable behavior.

      2. Also, here is a humbling Herman Cain coronavirus timeline.

        Ahem…
        “Leftists are coping by posting Herman Cain’s timeline, but Cain had stage 4 cancer and was going to get dick-slammed by Corona-chan if he caught it anyway.”

        1. Lol, you guys really are amazing. It’s total coincidence that the cancer decided to kill him several weeks after attending a Trump rally and being hospitalized for covid symptoms. The mind’s ability to wrap itself in protective sheaths, to defend the fragile ego-constructed hivemind worldview from the ravages of an uncaring universe, is truly fascinating.

          1. A stage 4 cancer patient dying of a secondary infection is a good reason to use men with guns to forcibly prevent people from participating in society.

            Lol, you guys really are amazing. And by amazing I mean a subhuman piece of dog shit authoritarian bootlicking worthless cunt.

          2. So you aren’t aware of cancer drugs effects on immune responses? Sounds like a typical chipper take. One of pure ignorance.

          3. No. However, when the camel’s back breaks, you don’t blame the last straw. You blame all the other baggage as well. COVID isn’t nice. It takes out the weak and the sick and, on occasion, the young and strong. However, someone with stage 4 cancer is going to die sooner rather than later.

      3. “Terminal cancer patient dies from just Covid”

        Well you convinced me, Chipper.

        1. I am pretty sure there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that could convince to stop worshipping your weird orange citrus golem.

          1. I am pretty sure there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that could convince you to stop worshipping your weird senile pedophile groper uncle Joe.

          2. And Chipper now goes full Jeff.

  15. “Does Trump’s Weird Hospitalization Jeopardize the Peaceful Transfer of Power?”

    No. In what universe is that a remotely rational question to ask?

    1. Tds based concern trolling is all reason has left

      1. Is there any circumstance under which it would be OK for Reason to criticize Trump?

        1. They can criticize Trump all they want. There are lots of legitimate things to criticize him for. This particular criticism is stupid to the tenth power.

  16. Suderman went full progtard. You never go full progtard.

    1. He’s been fully prog for a while now.
      I think one too many smacks to the head from McArdle if the dinner’s not on time or when he won’t put out, did it.

  17. “By the time you read these words, even more employees at the White House will have tested positive for COVID-19 than detailed in the already-lengthy list this morning…”
    Oh nos! A virus that leaves 99.95% of the population alive, where 60% of those infected exhibit no symptoms, and that perfectly healthy people are having themselves tested for- for no good reason, has been detected in the President and those around him! Quick, get him to Cheyenne Mountain and nuke China!
    It’s like God watched a really funny Southpark episode while high, and said, “Here, hold my beer”.

  18. Going into the next term, the president and his staff will be COVID-resistant. Good times.

    Biden and Harris, hiding in their basements, are still susceptible, so not a good choice for president.

  19. So I’m registered to vote in both Florida and Georgia.
    Status for both is: Active.
    Really don’t know how to fix that. The website certainly wasn’t helpful.
    That’s a big problem.

    1. Vote where your primary residence is located for tax purposes. Regardless of extra active registration only vote once for federal officials. Consult lawyer about state local officials.

  20. Suderman is the embodiment of TDS.

    Libertarian thought is completely foreign to him. It is long past time for Reason to move its HQ far, far away from the DC/NY corridor. The echo chamber is so all encompassing, it distorts everything.

    Lockdown culture is anathema to libertarianism. If writers can’t understand that, they should be writing for the WaPo or NYT

    1. FTFY

      Suderman is the embodiment of TDS.

      Libertarian tThought is completely foreign to him.

    2. “I stood out front, and I led.”
      –Joffrey Trump

      “Any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no king.”
      –Tywin Lannister

      1. Tony, you’re so cute! Are you single?

  21. Love Trumps Hate!

  22. So, Reason, The White House has refused the CDC’s offer to do contract tracing, and will instead do it in house. AND, the White a house is stopping FDA’s new restrictions on how any vaccine could be used under emergency authorization.

    Is this because Trump and cohorts know more about contract tracing as well as vaccine safety than anyone else?

    1. Trump certainly knows more about contracts than any government bureaucrat who has never met a payroll…

      His staff are amateurs at _contact_ tracing, but unlike the CDC they have not proved themselves incompetent, and they do have the visitor logs, a large bank of telephones, and know most of the people who’ve met Trump recently.

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  25. Biden has a 16 point national lead in new polls. He’s running away with Arizona. Trump’s debate meltdown and his covid self-own were the last straw for many of his own supporters and loyal Republicans. The people are just not as stupid as he needs them to be. Most of the people on this board are that stupid, but not most normal people.

    1. 16 point national lead huh? Good thing we have the electoral college.

      1. Why is it good that a guy can become president against the wishes of two thirds of the country?

  26. Since Trump contracted the virus last week, there have been more news stories (that in the past 6 months) pointing out that obesity is the leading risk factor for China virus hospitalizations and deaths.

    That’s because left wing woke folk at CDC, FDA, state/local health departments and the lame stream news media didn’t want to be accused of FAT SHAMING, that is until Trump got the virus (even though his BMI is just 31).

    But nobody has reported on this obesity flip flop by the Trump haters in the news media.

  27. Does Trump really have Covid? Maybe, maybe not. Or maybe he was just so pumped up on steroids that he felt well enough to go back to the White House. Although I’ve heard that the care he can get at the White House is just as good as what he could get in the White House. I find it hard to believe that he can be better already. I’m no Covid expert, but I do know a few people that have caught the virus. They said it was like having the worst flu ever. I guess we’ll see what happens over the next week. I’m not a big fan of watching people die and hope hope Trump doesn’t. But if he dies he dies. It’s really not that big of a deal to me.

  28. Trump catching the virus. Then all of the new cases we are seeing involving those around him and among those who work among the political class in DC is a classic example of preventable error failure.

    It occurres on multiple levels from top down and we are not done with it. If you look at high risk environments, say the deck of an aircraft carrier or a hospital and break down analysis of errors you would see they occur not because of one person making a mistake but because the system is not properly set up to catch those mistakes.

    The president and his wife should not have been infected. The one person who should have been the most protected in this country from this and many other threats was not.

    If this does not ring alarm bells it should.

    And yes if leadership does not buy into the basic safety rules you get a meltdown. If leadership does not listen to those below rank with more expertise there is no system in place.

  29. Nick is right about viewing everything through the lens of Trump. It causes one to think like Peter and assume every country with better results did so because they “followed the rules” and not acknowledging there could be many other factors at play. Or today, when Trump said to “not be afraid of COVID” and everyone freaked out. Out of all the offensive things Trump has said, this has to be the least. Twitter and Facebook censored Trump’s posts about influenza being more lethal for some age groups which is a completely true statement. Since when has being fearful ever been helpful?

    We’ve come a long way since, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Speaking of which, it’s amazing that FDR died at the height of WWII as basically president for life, trampled on term traditions, and attempted to pack the court but is heralded as a hero — but Trump being sick is concerning for transfer of power. Everything really is a matter of perception.

    Anyway, while the media is obsessed with Trump drama like it’s a Shakespearean morality play, kids still aren’t in school and rights are being trampled on everywhere all because we *think* we’re doing worst.

  30. Suderman for sure needs some Xanax. His total meltdown at the opening was exhausting. Since when do libertarians think that the executive should model preferred behavior for all of us rubes in flyover country? And I still question the premise of masks being some kind of magical device. Science is not settled, and he sounds especially hysterical now that Trump is ok.

    How many times do we need to point out the uselessness of raw numbers? He blames Trump while citing the positive test rate in… Los Angeles?

    For people who want to disempower the executive, they sure grant a lot of power to Trump.

    There was nothing reasonable about this podcast. Maybe they need to change the name of the publication.

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