Donald Trump gives a double thumbs up outside the White House with no mask on.

Donald Trump Just Doesn’t Realize (or Care) That Other People Exist

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At a time when every hour is a year long, there’s been plenty to be angry about since Donald Trump left Walter Reed hospital Sunday for a spontaneous joyride with his Secret Service motorcade, but I haven’t been able stop thinking about the incredible selfishness of that decision.

As a reminder, Trump spent two nights in his lavish six-room hospital suite complete with crystal chandelier before reportedly getting so antsy he forced the Secret Service to drive him around the block to wave at people.

The Presidential SUV he chose to get into just a few days after what is believed to be Trump’s first positive test result (although he won’t tell us for certain!) is hermetically sealed with an auxiliary air supply–a precaution designed to protect the vehicle’s occupants from a chemical attack, but which probably makes it the worst possible place to be trapped with someone infected with an incredibly contagious virus.

James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, tweeted about the “insanity” of Trump’s drive-by stunt.

The only way Trump could think this was an acceptable thing to do is if he doesn’t think about those around him as actual people entitled to their own health and safety—which seems to be the case.

As Trump returned to the White House, he continued putting others at risk. He made a big show of taking off his mask while standing on the White House balcony. The defense offered was that he was alone on the balcony, so he shouldn’t have to wear a mask. Except he was not alone.

This is all too reminiscent of an anecdote the went around Twitter earlier this summer about a barista who asked a customer to put her mask on. The woman responded, “Why? There’s no-one in here.” That woman, like Trump, just doesn’t see staff as actual full humans.

About a dozen members of Trump’s inner circle have tested positive for COVID-19, from his wife to his press secretary to his campaign manager. But many more outside of that circle have contracted the virus, presumably due to their proximity to Trump and others who attended the apparent superspreader Rose Garden event last weekend—although the White House is refusing to do contact tracing for the event, so it’s impossible to say for sure, which I imagine is the entire point.

Here are just some of the people in Trump’s orbit, but outside of that inner circle, who we know have tested positive in the last week or so. (It’s worth noting that the Secret Service does not report positive cases for security reasons.)

—At least two junior communications aides

—A White House junior staffer

—Three White House reporters

11 organizers and members of the media covering the Ohio presidential debate

—At least two members of the White House housekeeping staff

Despite what Trump might think, these are all actual people.

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.