The coronavirus turned Trump into a ‘germaholic’ – according to his former associates
President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden (screengrab)

For weeks, President Trump shook hands with officials, mingled with dignitaries, and gave press conferences in packed rooms. But when he finally seemed to grasp the reality of the coronavirus threat, he resisted shaking hands after a sober press conference that displayed his marked change in tone. But according to POLITICO's Michael Kruse, it's odd that Trump didn't heed the social distancing advice from experts earlier on, considering his famous distaste for shaking hands.

"He so stubbornly kept shaking hands, though, in the estimation of people who know him well, even as the spread of the virus started to spike, in an instinctual effort to avoid any implicit admission that he whiffed on preparedness or miscalculated the virus’ severity and to project as well his preferred patina of sanguine vigor and insusceptibility," Kruse writes. "Symbolism superseded safety."

“He went from being a germaphobe to being a germaholic,” former Trump Organization executive vice president Louise Sunshine told Kruse.

According to others who know Trump, his need to convey to the public that everything is okay was so strong that it superseded his legendary dislike for human contact. To convey otherwise would be an admission that he's wrong. “It’s more important for him to be right than to do right," according to a former Trump publicist.

Read Kruse's full piece over at POLITICO.