Fox News host Greg Gutfled on Friday afternoon spun the news of Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis as the result of the president’s bravery, patriotism, and the risks he took on behalf of the country.
The president and his wife revealed early Friday morning that they tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Later in the day, the president was flown to the Walter Reed Medical Center, “out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts.”
As Fox News cameras awaited the president’s departure from the White House to the hospital, Gutfeld, a co-host of early evening talk show The Five, offered up a wild take on the diagnosis.
“Maybe it’s a flaw of Trump... he didn’t hide from the virus. The reason he didn’t hide from the virus is he didn’t want America to hide from the virus. If he was going to ask America to get back to work, right? To get back to work, and experience a risk, he was going to do the same thing, he was going to walk out there on that battlefield with you, and not sit somewhere in a basement and tell you how you have to get back to work, but not go out himself,” the Fox News host said.
“So I think he put himself on the line, and the flaw being that as an optimist, as somebody who is trying to convey a message that we are going to get through this, and things are going to be better, he had to walk that walk, he had to do that,” Gutfeld continued. “He could’ve scared the crap out of everybody, but he refused—and it goes back to his original point about trying to make sure that the positive attitude is maintained, along with a sense of concern. So he took the risk, he got the virus, but he was doing it for us.”
Gutfeld’s colleague Juan Williams, the lone liberal on the show, responded by noting that the president is “a man who was very clear in saying that this was going to disappear magically.”
The Fox News analyst additionally pointed out that, despite Gutfeld’s repeated insistence that the president has exhibited strong leadership on the virus, Trump repeatedly flouted basic public-health-guidelines and repeatedly mocked the use of face masks as a preventative measure for COVID-19, including directly taunting his Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden on the debate stage this week for his mask use; and that Trump had put his own supporters at risk by holding rallies—sometimes indoors—“in defiance of the advice of public-health officials.”
“The ‘flip the script’ is one in which he now is clearly insufficient to be the national leader in saying, ‘I understand the seriousness of this virus and I want us as an American people to get through this, and here are the steps we can take—masks, social distancing, and the like,” Williams concluded.
Gutfeld was one of the most Trump-skeptical stars on the network prior to the president’s 2016 electoral victory. However, over several years, he has undergone a transition from, as The Daily Beast reported, “an irreverent, comedy-adjacent Fox host to yet another one of the network’s many on-air bootlickers in the Trump era.”