Trump's allies say Rudy Giuliani tested negative before his three-state swing, but might be lying
On Sunday, infamous Trump “lawyer” Rudy Giuliani tested positive for, and was hospitalized for symptoms of, COVID-19. Like nearly all people in Donald Trump’s close orbit, Giuliani has been contemptuous of pandemic safety measures like masks and social distancing. He has largely ignored those measures in recent weeks while flying all over the country to promote lawsuits seeking to overturn the United States elections on Trump’s behalf, usually as a part of a cabal of like-minded Trump allies. Now we await news of the damage.
First up is Arizona. Last Monday Giuliani spent the better part of a day with hard-right Arizona lawmakers in an event promoting Republican conspiracy theories about election fraud. The day after, he privately met with the state House and Senate’s top Republican leaders.
Giuliani was hospitalized five days later, which puts his Arizona trip well within the possible bounds of when he may have been contagious. Shortly after the news that Giuliani had tested positive, the Arizona state House and Senate were quickly closed down for a week. The buildings will remain off-limits; we can presume that state Republican leaders will now pursue testing with more diligence than they did mask-wearing, or not.
Arizona officials may have been quickest to respond to the news of a possible superspreader in their midst, but Arizona wasn’t the only state in which Giuliani conspired with friendly state legislators last week.
On Wednesday Giuliani was in Michigan, where he regaled the Republican-held House Oversight Committee with election conspiracies. He wore no mask.
On Thursday Giuliani was in Georgia for another maskless rally-slash-conspiracy event with state allies. Democratic Georgia state senator Elena Parent is among those blasting Georgia Senate leaders for holding a hearing with Rudy and his coconspirators, telling CNN via an email that it was “reckless and irresponsible” to have “willingly endangered all of us to pander to Trump.” The Washington Post reports that state Senate staffers who attended the hearing “have been instructed to work remotely until they get tested.”
The obvious question, then, is whether Giuliani spread the gift of Trump-supporting COVID-19 to at least three Republican-governed state legislatures, or whether it was the mask-condemning Republicans of one of those three states that gave the virus to him for further dispersal around the country. So far, Team Trump is vigorously insisting that Giuliani put none of the three statehouses at risk, claiming that he “tested twice negatively immediately preceding” the trip.
The problem with that statement, of course, is that the Trump White House and Trump campaign infamously lie about everything, all the time. We only learned after Donald Trump’s hospitalization for COVID-19 that his White House and physicians hadn’t been testing him at all for the virus, after months of White House claims that he was being tested daily or near-daily or at least frequently—they simply lied, brazenly, about the testing. We can infer absolutely nothing from their similar testing claims here.
In the end, we will know who exposed who because the virus will tell us. Between zero and three Trump-allied statehouses will be experiencing a new pandemic outbreak, depending on when exactly Giuliani himself became infectious. It’s impossible to feel much sympathy for any of these people; these state Republicans have been doing their level best to promote the spread of the virus and conspiracy theories both, and are only practicing the same contempt for safety that they advocate to their citizens.
As hospital care becomes more and more rationed across the country, though, it would take gall for any of them to show up demanding treatment for a disease they tried very hard to get. But that is Republicanism. Any assistance offered to you is socialism; any assistance demanded by us is our divine right.