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Virginia Voters React To Trump's Positive Coronavirus Test


So what about reaction to this news here at home? NPR's Sarah McCammon has been talking with people in Virginia Beach as they start their day this morning. She's with us. Hi, Sarah.


GREENE: So, I mean, it's still early. This came out from a tweet from the president in the middle of the night.


GREENE: People were just getting going on their day. But what are you hearing so far?

MCCAMMON: Well, like so many things about President Trump, David, a lot of what I've been hearing in response to this news kind of depends on politics. So Amelia DaCruz voted for Trump in 2016. She told me at a coffee shop this morning she's leaning toward voting for him again. And she's not too concerned.

AMELIA DACRUZ: Do I worry about COVID? Do I worry about him? No, I'm more worried about Biden because if he got it, I think we'd be in much - he'd be much more impacted by it. I think Trump's pretty resilient, and he'll probably power on through it.

MCCAMMON: So she has this image of Trump as very strong and resilient, as she said, although she did acknowledge to me that you really can't predict how sick an individual will get. Another woman at that same place who also voted for Trump four years ago said she just hopes he recovers, and she wondered who else he might have been around and exposed to the virus.

GREENE: I'm just amazed. I mean, you point out that everything today comes down to politics when people talk about almost anything. So you're hearing different things from people who say they support Joe Biden?

MCCAMMON: Well, yeah. This morning, I talked to Monica Scott (ph), a Biden supporter. She says she woke her husband up early this morning with the news.

MONICA SCOTT: I think we are both hoping, like, hey, at the very least, this might make somebody who hasn't taken this seriously take it seriously.

MCCAMMON: And I've also been hearing from a couple of voters this morning a real distrust of President Trump and information coming from the White House about anything, including this, and just, really, a sense of confusion about what to make of this news, especially so close to the election.

GREENE: Well, I mean, the president has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic. I mean, in the first debate with Biden, he essentially mocked Biden for always wearing a mask.


GREENE: I mean, are voters talking about that as the context for this news?

MCCAMMON: Yeah. One woman I spoke to this morning, Didi Smith (ph), she's a stay-at-home mom in Virginia Beach, and she was out having breakfast. She had not heard that President Trump tested positive for coronavirus until I told her, and this is how she reacted.

DIDI SMITH: I mean, he decided not to wear a mask for how long? He was pretty much asking for it.

MCCAMMON: And she said she's still keeping an open mind about who she'll vote for, but she was not surprised that Trump got the virus, given his behavior. But for Trump supporters like Amelia, who we heard from, they tend to think he's handled the pandemic well. I heard a few people point out that lots of people get this virus. That said, you know, the CDC and other health authorities say wearing masks and social distancing does make a real difference and can reduce the risk of getting sick.

GREENE: All right. NPR's Sarah McCammon speaking to people in Virginia Beach reacting to this news that President Trump has tested positive for coronavirus. Sarah, thanks a lot.

MCCAMMON: Yeah, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.