Trump hopes to weaponize his own struggle with COVID-19 for the 2020 election: report
President Donald Trump in his conference room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

President Donald Trump is counting on his possible recovery from the coronavirus to push him across the finish line on Election Day.


The president's campaign was upended last week when he announced his COVID-19 infection, and he spent the weekend watching TV coverage of his illness while getting treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center, reported The Daily Beast.

“How is it playing?” Trump repeatedly asked advisers and aides about media coverage of his diagnosis.

Trump assured his associates he'd return to the campaign trail soon, according to three sources, although he wasn't sure he'd be able to this week.

He repeatedly told confidantes he could portray himself as a conquerer if he, in fact, recovers from the potentially deadly virus.

The Beast's sources claimed Trump believes his infection could be a campaign asset, because he'd be able to say he understood what Americans were going through, and some allies believe they can use his infection as a weapon.

“Obviously, the jury is out on the political consequences,” said Trump surrogate Matt Schlapp, who's chair of the American Conservative Union. “[But] I don’t think this idea is going to sell, to say somehow the president did something wrong and that’s how he got sick. Blaming those who have gotten sick is a huge mistake … There are a lot of people in this country who get that and reject the narrative that Trump has done something wrong and that’s resulted in him getting this.”

But the president's control of the situation is undermined by the continued dysfunction inside the White House, where staffers are frustrated by the lack of communication about the COVID-19 outbreak.

“[Basically] no one was being told which way was up and which way was down,” one White House official said. “Many of us had to find out what was going on by reading the news.”