Trump Covid revelation sparks torrent of social media reaction
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Washington (AFP) –
Social media erupted with reactions to President Donald Trump's revelation Friday that he and wife Melania tested positive for Covid-19, with an outpouring of sympathy as well as mockery and anger over his efforts to minimize risks of the disease.
The president's announcement on Twitter in the early morning Friday garnered more than 1.2 million likes within eight hours, and was shared or retweeted at similar levels.
According to the news site Axios, the tweet was Trump's most popular ever, topping his 2019 news that rapper A$AP Rocky was released from prison in Sweden. Axios analyzed data from the Trump Twitter Archive.
On Facebook, where Trump has some 29 million followers, comments were both supportive and mocking.
"Praying for our President and his sweet family that the Lord will place a hedge of protection around them and keep all evil forces away from them," one Facebook user wrote.
But another countered: "Why are you going to quarantine? YOU said it was a hoax.... now it's your time to drink the punch! Or drink some kind of chemical."
On Twitter, where Trump has some 86 million followers, the hashtag #TrumpHasCovid was a top trend.
One supporter tweeted, "May the prayers and blessings of good health I am sending with these flowers make your strong and healthy soon."
- Anger, mockery -
Others vented anger at the president for playing down the risks of the pandemic which has led to more than seven million infections and over 200,000 deaths in the United States.
"Are you still going to mock people for wearing masks?" actress and activist Sophia Bush tweeted.
"Are you sorry for lying to the American people for months? I ask these b/c I assume you'll get the best taxpayer funded gov’t healthcare avail + genuinely hope you recover. But you owe us answers."
The president's niece Mary Trump, a longtime critic of the administration, wrote: "I reserve my sympathy, empathy, and despair for those who are sick and for those who have died because they were misled, lied to, or ignored."
Some expressed fear of increased civil turmoil as a result of the news.
"I fear that if Trump dies from COVID-19, his rabid followers will go from calling Covid a hoax to going all out labeling it the 'China Virus' and taking their anger out against Asian Americans," said one twitter users. "As a Chinese American it truly scares me."
The news provoked a flood of memes, or images offering a satirical look, on social platforms.
One image showed a hand from someone sinking in water, with the commentary: "Only in 2020 can Fate be teed up so perfectly, Donald Trump gets Coronavirus 48hrs after vehemently denying science in the debate."
Other reactions came in the form of videos on TikTok, the popular social application which Trump has sought to wrest from Chinese control or shut down.
Some posts showed people dancing in apparent celebration of the news.
One TikTok user commented in a post: "He got the virus and he admitted it which I NEVER thought thy would admit it!.. I don't wish harm on anyone, but also… hoisted by your own petard!!!
© 2020 AFP