Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin & Other World Leaders React to Trump's COVID-19 Diagnosis
World leaders including U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin sent well-wishes overnight after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
President Trump joins a group of other prominent politicians around the world who have been infected with the virus, including Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Johnson's bout with the virus was particularly severe, leading to time in the hospital after he experienced persistent symptoms.
On Friday, Johnson wished the Trumps "a speedy recovery" and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said he hoped for "quick recovery and good health" for the president, whom he called a friend.
Others who sent their support included European Council President Charles Michel; the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; and Vice President Mike Pence (who aides said has tested negative for the virus since the Trumps tested positive).
According to Reuters, a spokesman for the German government said Merkel sent her best wishes to the president and his wife, as well, saying she hopes they will recover “soon."
Putin reportedly sent his thoughts to the first couple via telegram. “I am certain that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus,” Putin said, according to Russian news outlets.
The chorus of support was not unexpected, given the influence of the U.S. president in the international order (and the potential instability created by his illness). But it created a contrast with Trump's previous role on the world stage.
Since taking office, he has split with his White House predecessors in dealing with other leaders — speaking warmly of authoritarians like Putin while questioning the value of alliances in Europe, at times saying the U.S. was being taken advantage of.
The president initially announced he and the first lady were sick via Twitter early Friday, writing that he and his wife would "get through this TOGETHER!"
Mrs. Trump made her own statement on social media, tweeting Friday: "As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements."
In a memorandum issued late Thursday by the White House, Sean P. Conley, the physician to the president, confirmed that the couple had tested positive.
"The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence," Conley's statement read. "The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country's greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments."
More than 7.3 million people in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 to date and more than 200,000 people across the country have died from the virus, according to The New York Times' database.
It was unclear Friday where the president and first lady were first infected, though Trump said Thursday night that senior White House adviser Hope Hicks — who had recently been in proximity to him — had tested positive.