Oregon leaders call for caution, aid post-POTUS diagnosis


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lawmakers and political analysts around the country are talking about what the president’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis means for the country.

Senator Ron Wyden said Friday he and his wife are wishing President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump speedy recoveries. But he said the president is a profound reminder the U.S. should still take the pandemic very seriously. 

“I think when you get this kind of information and you see, number one, concrete evidence that at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, you see proof that the virus is not gone,” Wyden told KOIN 6 News. 

The presidential election is now just a month away. Since Trump announced early Friday morning that he and his wife had tested positive, speculations on what happens next have flown across social media. 

“I’ve seen a lot of people say, especially on the left, they are worried that this is going to be something that President Trump can use to get sympathy,” Wyden said. “Or to say if he’s able to beat the virus quickly then say ‘hey, the coronavirus isn’t so bad.’” 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he hopes people see this as a reminder to take preventative measures to curb the virus’ spread.

“I wish the President and the first lady a speedy recovery,” Wheeler tweeted. “We all should be reminded of how important it is to wear a mask and follow all public health recommendations.”

Lewis and Clark Political Science Professor Ben Gaskins shared his thoughts on how voters will perceive Trump’s diagnosis. 

“I think that anytime the focus of the country is on the devastation of the pandemic and the fact that it can hit the most powerful person in the world — that shines a light and puts questions on the administration’s handling of the pandemic,” Gaskins said. 

With the president recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center, Wyden hopes people see this as an opportunity to remember many Americans, including Oregonians, are still suffering from the fallout of the virus. 

“A lot of Americans don’t have the ability to get the kind of medical care that you can get at Walter Reed,” Wyden said. 

Wyden said it’s time for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work collaboratively across the aisle to pass another coronavirus relief package. 

“We’ve got to find a way to set the politics aside and make sure that we get people the money they need,” he said. 

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