President Donald Trump went for a ride on Sunday afternoon to greet supporters who had gathered outside his hospital room at Walter Reed. He also released a video confessing that he has been fully educated on COVID-19 while at the hospital, as opposed to before, when the CDC, Coronavirus Task Force, FDA and the top experts in the world were briefing him.
"It's been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about COVID," Trump said. "I learned it by really going to school. I get it, and I understand it."
It drew ire from CNN's John Avlon, who unleashed in a fiery response after host Ana Cabera asked if he thinks Trump is still downplaying the virus.
"Of course, he's downplayed it, which is why there's a dark irony to his diagnosis, and the infection is spreading through the West Wing," he explained. "What he said in the video and what Jason Miller just repeated to us, seems to say that now that it affects him personally, Donald Trump is taking the virus very seriously. He wants other people to be careful. He's learning a lot. That's a symptom of the fundamental narcissism of the president at this time. That 210,000 Americans can die, that under his watch, this has gone on for more than eight months, but it's only really real to him when he's personally impacted. That is just absolutely a dereliction of duty, but it's typical of this president."
Conservative commentator Margaret Hoover agreed but noted that it is hardly surprising.
"As long as coronavirus is the lead story in this presidential election, 30-some days out, the president is losing," she said. "And this was a wisdom-grasping attempt to try to insert himself in a positive way to try to tilt the coverage ever so slightly in his direction."
Hoover explained that Trump is clearly trying to make himself the "hero" of the story after getting the virus.
"As though he's the unfortunate victim of a virus and bad luck," she noted. "He knew nothing other than -- this is some mysterious accident that he's contracted to this virus as opposed to having avoided and ignored the real science and advice of his own White House Coronavirus Task Force and the rest of the country. You and I and Americans across this country are wearing masks, are social distancing, are wiping down boxes with Clorox wipes, right, when the president himself knew this was airborne, not on surfaces, right? So, we are all being responsible and heeding advice. The president refused to do, and now the story is all about him again. But he's losing it."
See the video below: