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Locals react to Trump contracting COVID-19

Locals react to Trump contracting COVID-19

Charlie Pond and Cindy Ginsburgh hold a “Trump 2020” flag on River Street Friday. Pond organized the simultaneous Back the Blue and Trump rally. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Locals and visitors in Saranac Lake reacted to news that President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19, some with faith and sadness, others with joy and sarcasm.

Attendees at a Trump and Back the Blue rally in Saranac Lake on Friday said they believe he is going to be OK.

“I believe he’s going to beat it,” Cindy Ginsburgh said. “Just because you get it doesn’t mean you’re going to die.”

“People are worried about him, but we feel he’s a very strong man,” said Diane Burman, who was at the Republican headquarters on Main Street. “Everybody is sad that he is sick. Most people’s reactions are that he is going to be fine.”

“He’s a New Yorker; he’ll be fine,” said Joe Dierna, who was also at the headquarters.

Ginsburgh said people on the political left are “gleefully happy” over the news because they’ve wanted to get rid of Trump since his first day in office.

“I feel sorry that they are so mean,” Burman said.

“The hatred, though,” Joe Dierna said, “the meanness and the hatefulness, it’s got to end.”

For those who did not speak strongly for or against Trump, people felt the president has not followed common COVID-19 precautions.

“Masks really work,” Julia Goren said while wearing her mask on Main Street. “He should have been wearing a mask.”

Reaction from anti-Trump people ranged from sarcasm to dancing, voicing disdain for a politician they feel is responsible for the virus spreading to more people in the U.S. than in any other country.

“Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” Phil Newton said sarcastically at the Voters for Change headquarters on Broadway. “I can’t help but wonder about a lot of people who seem to think that this virus is a myth. … It might shake them up a bit.”

Sasha Van Cott, who was walking her four-month-old German shepherd Billie on Broadway, said she believes Trump has “downplayed” the virus.

“I don’t know why. I guess he was trying to make people not panic,” she said. “It’s like when a ship is going down and the captain is telling people it’s just a mechanical issue and that it’s not sinking.

“I thought it was really funny. It’s irony,” she said of his diagnosis. “He’s always saying it’s not a big deal, and now he has it.”

When Kathleen Klein and Stephen Peters, who were visiting from Binghamton, were asked about Trump contracting COVID-19, they danced around the sidewalk in the rain with their umbrellas.

“We’re just hoping that he takes a turn for the worse,” Klein said.

She said she worried that if Trump is asymptomatic, he will say the virus was a hoax.

“Hopefully he’ll die and then no one will vote for Pence,” Peters said. “Biden will be elected, and then in a month he’ll die, and then we’ll have Harris.”

Not everyone was confident in the news of Trump’s diagnosis, either.

“I don’t trust him,” Jarrod Parker said. “When he makes a claim, it’s hard for me to take it seriously. He clearly misled the American people back in March about the coronavirus.

“I feel sorry for anyone who contracts coronavirus. … But I’m skeptical … that it’s not some ploy to somehow embellish his campaign and distract the American people. But I’m not denying the fact that it could be a real thing.”

Parker said he hopes the media focuses on the “important issues” and not on Trump

Meghan Johnstone agreed; she said issues like climate change and racism are more important.

Politician reaction

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, the Republican from Schuylerville who represents northern New York in Congress, is one of Trump’s New York campaign surrogates and has been a staunch supporter of him as she, too, campaigns for reelection. She issued a statement Friday morning saying, “I send my thoughts and best wishes to the President, First Lady, and the entire White House team for a speedy recovery.”

She added, “I have had no in person contact with President Trump in the last 14 days.”

Tedra Cobb, a Democrat from Canton who is running against Stefanik in the Nov. 3 election, also issued a statement.

“My wish for the President and the First Lady is the same as my wish for the other 6 million Americans who have contracted this deadly virus: a rapid recovery,” she wrote in an email.

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