UD community reflects on President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump test positive for COVID-19, what does this mean for the University of Dayton?

Kaitlin Lewis    
News Editor

In light of President Trump testing positive for COVID-19 just over a month before election day, leaders at UD reacted to what this diagnosis means for our local community. 

On Oct. 2, President Trump tweeted that both he and the First Lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump has since been admitted and released from Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and the latest reports from his physician say Trump has been symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

While the President seems to be recovering well, University of Dayton President, Eric Spina, said that a “still not fully understood disease” such as COVID-19 should still be a cause for concern when anyone contracts it.

“No matter the ultimate severity of the president’s case of COVID-19, this is the greatest danger to any US president’s health since President Reagan was shot in 1981, almost 40 years ago and well before nearly all of our students were born,” Spina said. 

President Spina posted on his own Twitter on Oct. 2 calling for prayers for President Trump as well as others who have recently been affected by COVID-19.

He told Flyer News that despite “our political leanings, we should all recognize that even brief incapacitation of the president poses real challenges to the functioning of the government and the country itself.”

Sr. Laura Leming, a professor in the sociology department here at UD, echoed that Trump’s diagnosis is proof to continue to take the coronavirus seriously.

Leming said that from a global perspective, many countries are surprised by the amount of U.S. citizens who question the validity of wearing masks and practicing social distancing.  

“We have tended to politicize the pandemic and how we respond – to wear a mask or not, to continue carrying on our economic, educational and entertainment and social lives,” Leming said. 

“We’ve had [Marianists] coming back from places like Rome and India who are frankly shocked at how mask-wearing has become such an object of people claiming their individual freedoms,” Leming continued.

It saddens me that people from outside the U.S. are seeing us be so self-centered.”

Sr. Laura also quoted Pope Francis’s most recent encyclical that calls for “a better kind of politics – one that works for the common good.”

She said the Pope’s letter should challenge the UD community to learn how to have dialogue – even with those who disagree with us – to solve the problems our community faces. 

“The pandemic has challenged us and fatigued us – we’re all sick of Zoom and not going to our favorite indoor places,” Leming said.

“But I hope it also energizes us to invest energy in making our relationships and communities – and our world – places where people can thrive as well as possible.”