Mass. Republicans Wish President Trump And The First Lady A Speedy Recovery

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Kevin O'Connor casts his vote at the Dover Town Hall on Aug. 26. (Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via GettyImages)
Kevin O'Connor casts a vote at the Dover Town Hall on Aug. 26. (Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via GettyImages)

News that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus has shocked the world and shaken up the presidential race, but many of his supporters are hoping for the best.

In a statement, Gov. Charlie Baker said he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito "offer our thoughts to the President, First Lady, and their family and wish them a speedy recovery. COVID-19 remains a dangerous virus that has proven to be incredibly contagious, and we urge all residents to be vigilant in their daily activities to stay safe and healthy.”

"I think like most people, our prayers are with the president and the first lady," said Jim Lyons, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party. "Hopefully, they'll recover and come back to the full vigor that they both have. So, we're praying for them."

Kevin O'Connor, the state's Republican nominee challenging Sen. Ed Markey, is also hopeful that the president and his wife have a swift recovery from a disease that O'Connor understands all too well.

"My dad almost died of coronavirus, so it hit our family directly" O'Connor said. "My cousin, who was a firefighter, died a few weeks ago and he had coronavirus. So, it's very dangerous. My heart goes out to all families, including the president and the first lady who have been touched by this."

O'Connor said he isn't sure what the political effect of this will be on Trump's re-election campaign, but assuming the president recovers, he said this latest challenge might actually help him.

"My perception is that people like and respect candidates who are resourceful, who adapt in the face of challenges — as we all have to do in our lives," he said.

There's little doubt that the diagnosis has thrown the president's re-election campaign into flux. Down in the polls against former Vice President Joe Biden, both nationally and in key battleground states, Trump had resumed large outdoor rallies. But with just a month to go until Election Day, he will have to forgo those at least for the near term — and quite possibly, for the remainder of the campaign.

At last week's debate, Trump boasted of his large crowds and ridiculed Biden for his smaller crowds, taking a more cautious approach and for wearing a face mask. But now the president faces renewed questions about the wisdom of large rallies — in which many of his supporters refused to practice social distancing or to wear masks, often in violation of local regulations.

"I don't think it's a good idea to politicize that," Lyons said. "The president is telling us that we still have to live our lives."

Lyons concedes that the coronavirus is dangerous, and that people should take it seriously and follow the guidelines laid out by public health officials. But he won't fault the president for encouraging his supporters to attend his rallies.

"We do have to be careful," he said. "But I'm not going to go down that road. I don't think he was wrong."

This article was originally published on October 02, 2020.

This segment aired on October 2, 2020.


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Anthony Brooks Senior Political Reporter
Anthony Brooks is WBUR's senior political reporter.



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