With President Donald Trump continuing to rebound from his battle with COVID-19, we had hoped that it would serve as a wake-up call to the president, his administration and the entire nation. It doesn’t, however, appear that will be the case.

We should all be grateful the president seems on his way to recovery. During his weekend at Walter Reed Medical Center, he had the world’s best care, including a cocktail of experimental drugs along with other treatments. 

The president said he has “gone to school” about COVID and its impact during his hospitalization. 

If that is the case, then he needs to revisit his notes. His actions in recent days have shown that the president has learned little and his messaging remains troubling and potentially dangerous.

While we have all been told for months that a positive test means quarantine and isolation for two weeks, the president certainly ignored that guidance when he hopped into a Secret Service SUV for a quick pass in front of hundreds of people who gathered outside of the medical center in support of the president.

Inside the vehicle were Secret Service agents whose job it is to protect the president. Remember, this isn’t just any vehicle. It is sealed to avoid any sort of chemical attack and has its own “environmental system.” That is how the president, still highly contagious — considering no one has announced a negative test result — put his own Secret Service agents in danger with no social distancing, limited PPE, and an air-tight sealed vehicle.

We understand the president’s want to not show weakness. Battling a disease that has killed 210,000 Americans isn’t a sign of weakness. It shows that anyone, even someone as sheltered, protected and continuously tested as the president are not immune.

Clearly the protocols in place surrounding the president — daily testing, attempts to social distance him in large gatherings — failed.

The president could have shown the nation — his supporters and those who won’t vote for him — the right thing to do. Practice and preach the guidance we have all had hammered into our heads for six months: Self-isolation and quarantine, social distancing, masking and proper hygiene.

Those practices are not 100 percent effective, but they remain the most effective combatants to the virus currently in place outside of a vaccine.

The president reverted right back to old habits. Upon his release from Walter Reed, the president tweeted that Americans shouldn’t be afraid of COVID and to “dominate” the disease. 

Then the president took his mask off. It was another moment where the nation needed real leadership, not a show of faux strength.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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