In his new book, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said there was confusion regarding whether or not former President Donald Trump had COVID-19 before the fourth and final presidential debate last year, with one positive result on an older version of the test and one negative result on a newer version of the test.
This led to a raft of headlines insisting Trump definitively knew he had COVID when he went in to face then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden for the debate. It also led to one of the most absurd tweets you’ll see in many a moon from Hollywood star Bette Midler: an unhinged call for Trump to be charged with attempted murder.
This isn’t her first ridiculous tweet, either — and what she’s said before is arguably more pernicious. Yet, everyone wants to close their eyes and pretend it’s not happening. (We don’t pretend here at The Western Journal, and we’re willing to call Hollywood stars out when they say something cretinous like this. You can help us in our fight by subscribing.)
The kerfuffle began last Wednesday when the U.K. Guardian published excerpts from Meadows’ upcoming book, “The Chief’s Chief,” set to be published this coming week.
According to excerpts obtained by the outlet, Trump tested positive after he lifted off from the White House on Sept. 26, heading to a rally in Pennsylvania. Trump’s response when contacted on Air Force One, Meadows said, “rhyme[d] with ‘Oh spit, you’ve gotta be trucking lidding me.’”
Meadows said he was surprised that a “massive germaphobe” like Trump could have contracted it, adding the president had been “hardly [seeing] anyone who ha[d]n’t been rigorously tested.” He wrote that he informed Trump that the test was done with an older model kit and that they would repeat it with “the Binax system, and that we were hoping the first test was a false positive.”
That system produced a negative test result; Meadows recalled he could “almost hear the collective ‘Thank God’ that echoed through the cabin.”
“I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks,” Meadows wrote, “but I also didn’t want to alarm the public if there was nothing to worry about — which according to the new, much more accurate test, there was not.”
Meadows wrote that while each candidate was required “to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the start time … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”
The debate was one which saw the then-president in high spirits — or, as the Guardian’s Martin Pengelly put it “Trump gave a furious and controversial performance.”
“The host, Chris Wallace of Fox News, later said Trump was not tested before the debate because he arrived late,” Pengelly wrote. “Organizers, Wallace said, relied on the honor system.” Trump would announce his positive result via Twitter on Oct. 2.
In a statement, Trump denied the account in the book — or at least how it was being reported in the media — calling it “Fake News.”
NEW FROM 45:
“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.” pic.twitter.com/Casf4IjjgS
— Margo Martin (@margommartin) December 1, 2021
“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News,” Trump said in a statement. “In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.”
It’s worth noting his statement doesn’t deny a positive test before the debate, nor does he expressly deny what Meadows wrote. After the story broke, Meadows also told Newsmax it was “fake news,” saying the first test was a “false positive” and two other tests after that showed he was negative.
Newsmax anchor Rob Schmitt: "I believe the president said it's fake news. What's the story here?"
Mark Meadows: "Well, the president's right, it's fake news." pic.twitter.com/p2zkaT5Vw0
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 2, 2021
It’s not clear how much context is missing from the Guardian’s report. All of this is to say, however, is that no matter what unwisdom Trump may have exhibited, he did nothing illegal — and he certainly didn’t try to murder Joe Biden. Don’t tell that to singer and actress Bette Midler, though.
“#DonaldTrump should be arrested for attempted murder,” Midler tweeted in the early hours of Friday morning.
“He tried to infect & kill #JoeBiden at the debate; by turning up too late to be tested, knowing full well he was positive; then screeched, sputtered, spit, and foamed at the mouth, hoping to infect Joe. He IS the devil.”
#DonaldTrump should be arrested for attempted murder. He tried to infect & kill #JoeBiden at the debate; by turning up too late to be tested, knowing full well he was positive; then screeched, sputtered, spit, and foamed at the mouth, hoping to infect Joe. He IS the devil.
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) December 3, 2021
Have fun trying to prove that one to the jury.
Not that Midler is someone who should be taken seriously when it comes to what she thinks is criminal.
In fact, this seems highly variable by your political party. In October of 2019, after disagreeing with something GOP Sen. Rand Paul said about Trump’s proposed withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, Midler tweeted that it was “a good reminder for us all to be more grateful for the neighbor who beat the s*** out of” him.
That 2017 attack — in which the Kentucky senator was tackled by a neighbor after an argument over lawn clippings — ended up breaking six of Paul’s ribs and necessitated lung removal surgery in 2019. According to USA Today, Paul’s staff said the removal of his lung put him in a higher-risk category when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020.
The tweet would later be deleted, but Midler certainly thought the assault was hee-larious at the time.
No matter what Trump knew or believed about his COVID-19 status, he should be charged with the attempted murder of his opponent. Rand Paul’s attacker is cool, though. If you ever need an argument for why we shouldn’t take celebrity political musings seriously, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bette Midler.