Celebrities reacted with a mixture of genuine sympathy, damning criticism and gallows humor after President Donald Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with coronavirus.
Some stars, including MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and actress Alyssa Milano, sent sincere good wishes to the Trumps, with Milano commenting on her own recovery from COVID-19, saying: ‘I wouldn’t wish this virus on my worst enemy’.
But many stars were not so kind to the commander-in-chief and his wife.
Actor Zach Braff said he thought it was ironic Trump had been infected after months of playing down the disease and scorning health measures such as mask-wearing.
Filmmaker Michael Moore and actress Bette Midler even floated a conspiracy theory that Trump is lying about having COVID-19 to ‘gain sympathy’ ahead of the November 3 presidential election against Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Some including Bette Midler hinted darkly at a conspiracy theory just weeks before the November 3 election, which polls say Trump is on course to lose
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was among those to offer genuine sympathies for Trump as he battles the ‘horrific and merciless’ coronavirus
Alyssa Milano was among those to adopt a more sympathetic tone, saying: ‘I can honestly say with all that I am that I wouldn’t wish this virus on my worst enemy’
Actor Tom Arnold caused a separate row by sharing Hope Hicks’ cell phone number on Twitter after the White House aide tested positive hours before the president
Midler, who sparked a backlash in August by mocking Melania’s Eastern European accent, said the timing of the White House outbreak was ‘so interesting’.
‘I guess Trump’s quarantining will mean no rallies, and no more debates. Convenient,’ she said.
‘It’s awful to always think the worst, but after four years of relentless lying? Can’t be helped. No trust left.’
Many celebrities had little sympathy for Trump after his self-acknowledged efforts to downplay the severity of the virus.
Actress Patricia Arquette said: ‘They will have access to every medical support and intervention imaginable. I just hope I don’t have to hear later ‘it’s just a bad flu’.’
Comedian Billy Eichner said: ‘He went to a fundraiser with his own supporters without a mask knowing he was exposed. I can’t get over it.’
Actress and activist Sophia Bush, 38, echoed many others who pointed out that Trump has referred to the coronavirus pandemic as a ‘hoax’.
‘Is it still a ‘Democrat hoax?’ Are you still going to mock people for wearing masks? Are you sorry for lying to the American people for months?’ The One Tree Hill star tweeted.
Scrubs actor Zach Braff also chimed in and posted, ‘But we were told this was a hoax’.
Former figure skating champion Adam Rippon also said he was screaming out loud that Trump has the ‘hoax virus’.
Descendants actress Dove Cameron, 24, also questioned why Trump had been tested for the ‘hoax’.
Stranger Things star Shannon Purser added: ‘The fact that two most protected people in our country got COVID… like, they had every opportunity and resource needed to not get sick but science denial is a trip!’
The Masked Singer panelist Ken Jeong, 51, went all capital letters as he tweeted, ‘DON’T DENY THE SCIENCE!!!!!!!’, along with a plea for people to wear a mask.
Actor Tom Arnold caused a separate row by sharing Hope Hicks’ cell phone number on Twitter after the White House aide tested positive hours before the president.
‘Silent thoughts and prayers aren’t enough for national treasure Hope Hicks. She needs to hear them,’ he said before adding a number purporting to be hers.
He later deleted the tweet but appeared to defend his actions, saying that ‘I was being nice!’.
Common theme: Zach Braff also chimed in and posted, ‘But we were told this was a hoax’ along with other stars who berated the president for playing down the virus
SNL writer Zack Bornstein parodied Trump’s comment during his debate with Joe Biden about the far-right Proud Boys group
Democrat hoax: Sophia Bush asked on Twitter if the coronavirus was still a ‘Democrat hoax’
Science wins: Ken Jeong tweeted not to deny science
DailyMail.com editor-at-large Piers Morgan took aim at people revelling in Trump’s illness, saying they were ‘no better than the man they loathe’.
‘Interesting to see those who’ve spent the last few years screaming that Trump’s an uncaring, heartless empathy-devoid b***ard now spewing their gleeful joy that he and his wife have a deadly virus,’ he said.
He added: ‘Nobody’s been more critical of Trump over covid than me. But I don’t want him or his wife to die from it. Those who do are despicable.’
Alex Hirsch, creator of the TV show Gravity Falls, said: ‘Get ready. Tomorrow they’re gonna go on the offense, say how all the mean liberals are celebrating and Trump’s a victim.
‘Don’t let them change the subject. 200,000 Americans are dead because Trump lied about this pandemic. His lies finally endangered his own family. It’s all on him.’
Alyssa Milano was among those to adopt a more sympathetic tone, saying: ‘As someone who has had Covid-19 and still suffers from post-covid syndrome, I can honestly say with all that I am that I wouldn’t wish this virus on my worst enemy. Please wear a mask.’
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said: ‘God bless the president and the first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery – and for everyone infected, everywhere.
‘This virus is horrific and merciless – no one would wish its wrath on anyone.
‘We must get its spread under control. Enough.’
Others saw the funny side, including Whitney Cummings, 38, who took to Twitter with a reference to one of the symptoms of coronavirus.
‘Of course Trump didn’t know he had covid he never had taste in the first place?,’ she tweeted.
She also joked: ‘I don’t get how Melania got it – she’s been social distancing from Trump since they got married.’
Positive side: Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, 69, tried to find the positive in the situation
No protection: Scott Nevins tweeted in reference to Hope Hicks, ‘Once again, a pretty young woman has gotten Donald Trump in trouble because he did not wear protection’
Star of the UK version of The Apprentice, Lord Alan Sugar, tweeted that Trump might ‘finally wake up and realise this is a dangerous pandemic’
Sometime symptom: Whitney Cummings, 38, took to Twitter with a reference to one of the symptoms of coronavirus
No gimmick: Others cracked jokes about the relationship between Trump and White House counselor Hope Hicks, 31, who also tested positive for coronavirus
SNL writer Zack Bornstein parodied Trump’s comment about the far-right Proud Boys group, saying: ‘Coronavirus, stand back and stand by’.
The Trumps were tested after the president’s close aide, Hope Hicks, 31, tested positive for the disease.
Hicks had travelled with the president to a campaign rally on Wednesday aboard Air Force One and started feeling poorly on the way back to Washington.
Radio and TV host Scott Nevins tweeted: ‘Once again, a pretty young woman has gotten Donald Trump in trouble because he did not wear protection’.
Late night host Jimmy Kimmel, 52, joked: ‘Does anyone know why Mike Pence is running around in circles, throwing little pieces of Wonder bread in the air?’
Duncan Jones, the film director son of David Bowie asked: ‘How do germaphobic sociopaths tend to react to getting sick?
‘If anyone with real psychological training has an answer, I’d be fascinated. If the universe already orbits their ego, what happens when they’re sick?’
Actress and model Padma Lakshmi, 50, posted a one-word response that simply read, ‘Karma’, following it up a Trump quote about the death toll from the pandemic, writing: ‘It is what it is.’
Others hoped Trump’s illness might at least lead his sceptical supporters to recognize the dangers of Covid-19.
‘If anything positive can come him testing positive, it would be his followers reevaluating their opinions,’ said Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.
‘If they will now accept a lockdown, social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing, we could crush the virus like we should have from the start.’ Hamill tweeted.
Trump’s British counterpart, Alan Sugar of the BBC’s Apprentice show, said that the president might ‘finally wake up and realise this is a dangerous pandemic.’