While speaking to supporters Wednesday at a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, President Donald Trump touted his son Barron's bout with COVID-19 as reason for schools to reopen for in-person instruction across the country. The president, who tested positive for COVID-19 in early October, claimed 14-year-old Barron Trump had COVID-19 for only a short period of time and suggested the teen, who was reported to be asymptomatic, didn't even know he was ill.
"Barron Trump, he had the corona-19. He had the China virus, right?" Trump told the crowd, using both an incorrect term for the virus and a term designed to center blame around China. "And he had it for such a short period of time. I don't even think he knew he had it because they're young and their immune systems are strong and they fight it off 99.9%. And Barron is beautiful, and he's free, free."
Trump then proceeded to cite his son's experience with COVID-19 as evidence for why schools across the country should physically reopen to students. "It happens. People have it, and it goes," he said. "Get the kids back to school. We've got to get them back to school."
St. Andrew's Episcopal School, the private school Barron attends, is among the schools that have refrained from returning to in-person instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Hill, the school has offered only virtual classes this year.
First Lady Melania Trump announced Barron's COVID-19 status earlier in the day, noting via a statement released by the White House that her mind had "immediately" gone to Barron's health when she and the president tested positive for COVID-19. "To our great relief he tested negative, but again, as so many parents have thought over the past several months, I couldn't help but think 'what about tomorrow or the next day?'" she said. "My fear came true when he was tested again and it came up positive."
Melania went on to characterize Barron as "a strong teenager" and note he'd "exhibited no symptoms."
Her own battle with COVID-19 included what she described as "a roller coaster of symptoms," all mild. These included cough, headaches, body aches, and extreme fatigue, the first lady revealed in her statement.
"In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together," Melania said.
Less than 24 hours after revealing he had tested positive for COVID-19, President Trump was taken via helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he spent three nights, NPR has reported. At the time, the first lady said she would not visit the president while he was hospitalized so as to not put Secret Service agents at risk, Newsweek reported.
On Wednesday, Melania revealed Barron had since tested negative for the COVID-19.
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