Jokes, anger, well-wishes: celebrities react to Trump’s COVID-19 news

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It didn’t take long for the explosive news about President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 status to become part of the popular culture discourse.

Shortly after Trump and his wife, Melania, announced they tested positive for the new coronavirus, social media feeds of celebrities were quickly inundated with a mixture of sympathy, scorn and humor.

Hollywood stars, cable news hosts, television icons — even the first openly gay American athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics — rushed to their closest internet-fed device to express their reaction.

The vast array of feelings, which are still being written for posterity on the pages of the world wide web, can perhaps be summarized by an early tweet from Emmy-nominated comedian Billy Eichner.

“OH. MY. GOD,” the creator of “Billy on the Street” tweeted, right after the news broke, early on Friday morning.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, a fierce critic of the president’s response to the crisis, took to Twitter to express her sympathy.

“God bless the president and the first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery — and for everyone infected, everywhere,” she wrote. “This virus is horrific and merciless — no one would wish its wrath on anyone. We must get its spread under control. Enough.”

Another vocal critic of the president, actress and activist Alyssa Milano, used the opportunity to remind everybody to “please wear a mask.”

“As someone who has had #COVID19 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,” she wrote.

Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winner Bette Midler also sent her well-wishes, but not without adding a good deal of sarcasm to her message.

“Gee, woke up this morning to learn Donald and Melania have tested positive for Covid-19. How can a HOAX infect anyone? That’s a new one on me. I’m sure he’s taking the Clorox cocktail, but it’s so unpleasant. Thoughts and prayers,” tweeted the “Hello, Dolly” star.

Stand-up comedian and actress Whitney Cummings went right for the jokes.

“I don’t get how Melania got it — she’s been social distancing from trump since they got married,” tweeted the host of the “Good For You” podcast.

On Friday morning, actress, activist and self-proclaimed troublemaker Patricia Arquette used an all-cap Twitter post to express her feelings towards the president and his willingness to fight the use of face masks: “He is a sociopath. He doesn’t care about the health and well-being of others,” she wrote when retweeting news that Trump “attended a fundraiser in New Jersey where he did not wear a mask and interacted with “dozens” of people.”

Actress Tessa Thompson used the moment, her celebrity, and the social media platform to remind people of a potentially life-saving suggestion: “wear a mask,” she tweeted.

Former figure skater Adam Rippon got personal.

“My grandmother died from Covid19 last month. We never got to have a funeral for her. So much of this could have been prevented by proper leadership,” wrote Rippon, a bronze medalist at the 2018 Winter Olympics. “The president called it a hoax for months while knowing it was not. WEAR A MASK.”

Comedian Kathy Griffin, who said she was “blacklisted” from Hollywood after posting a photo showing the decapitated head of President Trump in 2017 took a jab at Melania Trump, following a recently released tape which appeared to capture the first lady ranting about Christmas.

“You may want to quarantine until after Christmas, sweetheart,” Griffin wrote.

A few hours later, the Emmy and Grammy Award-winning comedian seemed to tone down the criticism — in a Kathy Griffin way.

“Ok fine. I’ll pray for him and the wife on one condition. NOT mild symptoms. And they each go on a ventilator, for at least 5 days. That’s my best and final,” she wrote.


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