COVID-19 Victims, Family Members Respond to Trump Testing Positive: The Virus 'Doesn't Care'
The coronavirus "doesn’t care if you’re the president of the United States," said one woman who lost her mother
Family members of victims of the COVID-19 pandemic are speaking out about President Donald Trump contracting COVID-19, some supportively and others critically.
Most, though, say the contagious respiratory illness is something they "would not wish upon my worst enemy."
Trump, 74, announced early Friday morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump, 50, had contracted the novel coronavirus this week and would enter quarantine for an undisclosed amount of time.
The White House announced later Friday that the first couple was both experiencing "mild symptoms" and received experimental treatment.
"It wasn't surprising to learn that the president caught COVID," said Fiana Tulip, who wrote a viral newspaper editorial in July, blaming Republican leadership for her mother's death. Tulip's mother, Isabelle Odette Papadimitriou, died from complications of the novel coronavirus on July 4.
"Trump has continually undermined doctors and scientists and has turned this very serious public health issue into one that is political and divisive," Tulip told PEOPLE, after hearing about the president's health. "Never did I think I would be talking about politics when talking about my mother’s death. But, that's all I've talked about since."
Tulip said her "thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one to this virus" and added that COVID-19 "doesn’t care about your politics."
"It doesn’t care about your religion, it doesn’t care if you trust the scientists or the epidemiologists," she said. "It doesn’t care if you’re the president of the United States."
Trump criticized Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing "the biggest mask I've ever seen" during Tuesday night's debate in Cleveland.
Sitting in the front row was Kristin Urquiza, another family member of a COVID-19 victim who previously blamed the president and other GOP politicians for the country's slow pandemic response.
Urquiza has appeared at events on behalf of Biden, 77, in recent months, denouncing Trump's leadership in a speech at the Democratic National Convention this August. She said her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, was a Trump supporter, "and for that, he paid with his life."
In a statement on Friday, Urquiza said Trump showed "no regard for human life" through his actions and that she would be tested for the novel coronavirus, worried about her proximity to the president at the debate.
"I am terrified," Urquiza said. "I know the darkest result of COVID: an undignified and lonesome death. Something I would not wish upon my worst enemy, present company included. I am working to get a test as soon as possible and will quarantine until I am certain that I am not putting others at risk."
Others, who have previously spoken with PEOPLE about a loved one's death due to the virus, had less sympathy for the president.
“If anybody deserves it, he does," said Stacey Nagy, a 72-year-old Texas native who lost her 79-year-old husband David to COVID-19 in July.
"With him coming out in that recording admitting that he knew way before anybody knew about this damn thing—he knew how deadly it was and he was keeping it a secret," Nagy said, pausing to cry over the phone. "And then him going out and having these rallies and people not wearing masks and turning this whole thing into a political thing and these thousands and thousands of people getting sick and dying? He’s a monster."
Celebrities, politicians, and likely millions of social media users commented on the president's diagnosis Friday.
Biden, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump's daughter Ivanka, and other prominent voices in the political world offered their thoughts and prayers.
Celebs who recovered from the virus also spoke out.
"As someone who has had #COVID19 and still suffers from post-COVID syndrome, I can honestly say with all that I am that I wouldn’t wish this virus on my worst enemy," tweeted actress Alyssa Milano. "Please wear a mask."