Trump’s COVID Illness Could be Turning Point in History
This was the case when Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke
The president’s statements seemed outlandish. Aides suggested his mood had changed. Secret sources revealed to the press that the illness was worse than had been publicly recognized.
This did not happen last week. It took place in October 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke and people around him attempted to conceal the severity of the illness. His wife, Edith, operated as gatekeeper, carefully deciding what details would be publicly released and what would be protected.
While there are enormous differences and 101 years between 1919 and 2020, historical precedents make one thing crystal clear: public presidential illnesses can be a turning point that shape the public’s view of the president. This is especially important during an election year, when a debilitating illness may reflect poorly on the president’s ability to achieve his ends — even if it prompts a substantial upwelling of sympathy, thoughts and prayers.
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