Dear President Trump,
The recent revelation that you and the first lady have both tested positive for coronavirus may take some time for you to process, as it certainly will for the nation. This happens with any serious illness. It can be overwhelming. It can be fear inducing. This is a good time to become as informed as possible about what may happen next, what your options may be, how best to prepare. Being president is a two-edged sword. You may have access to some of the most knowledgeable medical professionals in the world with vast resources at your fingertips, an army of aides at your call. But you are also almost constantly in a red-hot spotlight facing enormous pressure with an election just a few weeks away and not wishing to look vulnerable. Few have lived under such stress.
We would offer you this advice: Please come to Baltimore. We know that invitation may sound out of place, but this is not a social engagement. As you may recall, the late Rep. Elijah Cummings once extended the same offer in an entirely different context. But here’s the thing: The city is home to Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the finest medical facilities in the world. Ask Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a former Hopkins physician. Leaders from around the globe have gone there for treatment, as have leading figures in Washington, D.C., including, most recently, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The drive from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to 401 North Broadway is less than 40 miles and faster by Marine One, of course. The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda is outstanding, but you will not find men and women more knowledgeable or better trained or more dedicated to the well-being of patients than those at Hopkins. The professionals there do not give a fig about politics. They do not care about a patient’s fame or money or status or party affiliation. They follow a higher calling. Those daily updates on COVID-19 testing data around the world? That comes from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Hopkins is on the front line of medical research. They are the real deal, Mr. President. You can trust us on that point.
The good news is, of course, that the odds are in your favor, even at 74. The chances that you and your wife will weather this event well are high, and we hope that is the case. We know there is a lot of anger on social media right now, however, focused on your previous attempts to minimize the pandemic and your refusal to take proper precautions or responsibility for this nation’s inadequate response to the viral threat. Many of us have lost friends and family and suffered severe financial consequences as this modern-day plague has devastated this country. In times like these, people sometimes say things they later regret, a fallibility that’s only amplified by social media.
The bottom line is that moments like these deserve compassion, not hate. You and your wife face a health challenge. Please know you are welcome at Johns Hopkins. And, in return, we would ask only this: that you follow your own counsel and stay in quarantine, act responsibly and follow the medical advice of experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci. As you observed on Twitter, we will get through this “TOGETHER.”
The Baltimore Sun editorial board — made up of Opinion Editor Tricia Bishop, Deputy Editor Andrea K. McDaniels and writer Peter Jensen — offers opinions and analysis on news and issues relevant to readers. It is separate from the newsroom.