More than 3,100 Americans have died from COVID-19 in the five days since President Trump revealed his positive diagnosis, yet the president has continued to downplay the coronavirus threat. His comments, after being hospitalized and given experimental treatments not widely available to the public, have prompted many Americans whose loved ones did not have access to the same care as the president to express anger and resentment over his message.
“I just felt really disrespected and unheard,” two-time Olympian Kara Goucher told CBS News’ David Begnaud.
Goucher, a silver medal-winning long distance runner, said it was “devastating” to lose her 96-year-old grandfather Calvin Heyworth due to complications from the coronavirus.
“I really was thinking today, watching my grandfather struggle with every breath of his being… his life is worthy,” she said.
Her grandfather, a World War II veteran, died on Tuesday — just a day after President Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and returned to the White House where he recorded a video telling Americans toof the virus.
“Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives,” Mr. Trump said.
Goucher said she could not believe what the president was saying about COVID-19.
“I’m glad that he was treated and that he is beating COVID. But for so many people, hundreds of thousands of people in this country, that’s not the case,” she said. “And the pain is very, very real.”
She, her mother and sister were able to be with her grandfather in his final moments, but one of her other sisters was only able to be there over the phone.
“He deserves to die with dignity and with respect and with his family surrounding him. And if we had alland if we had all social distanced, we would be able to hug him and tell him what we feel and hold his hand,” Goucher said.
The president’s behavior also rattled 65-year-old Karen Aguirre. She lost her cousin, Sandy Melgar, and her cousin’s husband Renee to the virus in late September.
“The tone from the top matters,” Aguirre said.
When she saw Mr. Trump’s drive-by in which he briefly greeted supporters outside of Walter Reed through the sealed windows of his car, Aguirre said her thoughts immediately went to the families of those tasked with protecting the infectious president.
“I saw him get in the car with the Secret Service agents and drive around and wave to everybody, and I thought, the people in the car have families,” she said. “The people who tend to him, they have families and now they’re exposed to a virus they’re going to take home with them.”