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Wisconsinites Express Support For President, First Lady And Offer COVID Safety Reminders

Politicians, Residents Weigh In After Trump's Positive Coronavirus Test

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave before boarding Air Force One to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Wisconsin residents and politicians are sharing their support for President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s speedy recovery after the White House announced they had contracted coronavirus. People are also using the news to remind people to practice safety measures proven to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Roger Quindel, a Milwaukee resident, Vietnam veteran and wrestling coach for City Kids Wrestling Club, said wearing a mask and abiding by health officials recommendations isn’t political.

“I think it’s really unfortunate, but it’s an example of what we shouldn’t be doing,” Quindel said. “He’s been bringing all these huge crowds together and spreading the coronavirus. He’s made it a political act to wear a mask to protect yourself, to be outdoors, and it’s really unfortunate.”

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Earlier on in the pandemic, Quindel said a man approached him in Milwaukee and criticized him for wearing a mask and gloves.

“As much as I dislike his politics, I hope that he survives this, but I think it ought to be a lesson to everybody: you have to wear a mask; you have to stay distant from people; we have to protect each other,” Quindel said. “We’re all Americans, whatever your politics are. I’m not your enemy, and you’re not my enemy.”

Sharon Zimmer, of Onalaska, said the news highlights that almost no one is immune to contracting the virus. She said it is alarming that the nation’s chief executive could develop COVID-19 symptoms.

“He may have to have (Vice President Mike) Pence step in if he gets really critical,” Zimmer said. “The coronavirus affects everyone differently. You know, not everyone gets really, really sick, not everyone dies from it. Some people have mild symptoms, some people have more. So we’ll have to wait and see.”

As of Friday afternoon, the Trumps were showing mild symptoms, but the White House wouldn’t disclose what those were.

Olivia, who declined to give her last name, said she wasn’t surprised to hear the president and first lady tested positive.

When I read the headline this morning… a couple things went through my mind,” she said. “I didn’t know if, like, this could be more of a publicity thing. Because I know him and his wife both were like, ‘We’ll get through this together,’ type (of) thing, and I was like, ‘Does he even really have it?’ Who knows.”

The president canceled rallies in Janesville and Green Bay that had been planned for Saturday, and the campaign said all events involving members of the Trump family would be suspended or moved to virtual events.

Below is a roundup of statements from state politicians. Where no statement has been issued, the representative or candidate is not listed. This story will be updated.

Wisconsin Officials

Gov. Tony Evers: “Kathy and I are sending our best wishes to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in their recovery.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos: “Wishing @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS a full recovery.”

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley: “If the most protected person in America can get the virus, so can you. Yesterday, WI reported a record high 2,887 new COVID cases & 21 more deaths. It is time to hunker down and do everything to slow the spread. Follow the 3 W’s. #WearAMask #WashYourHands #WatchYourDistance.”

Andrew Hitt, chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin: “We wish the President well and we continue to pray for all those who have been affected by this pandemic. We look forward to their speedy recovery and to seeing the President in Wisconsin again soon.”

Former Gov. Scott Walker: “Lord, Please bless the President and First Lady with your healing hand. We pray the same for all those who are suffering today and for their families. In Your name we pray, Amen.”

US Senate

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh: “Best wishes to @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS for a full and total recovery.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison: “Wisconsin reported a record 2,887 new #COVID19 cases yesterday and now President Trump and the First Lady have tested positive. I wish them and everyone affected a quick recovery, and I hope that we will all do our part to stop the spread of this deadly virus and help save lives.”

US House of Representatives

1st Congressional District

Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville: “My prayers are with the President and First Lady, with the families who have suffered at the hands of this virus, and with the families who have lost someone to coronavirus. I remain committed to defeating this virus and protecting our health.”

2nd Congressional District

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison: “Wishing the President and First Lady a speedy recovery. If you weren’t taking this seriously, maybe you will now. Wear a mask. Social distance. Avoid large crowds. Ignorance or arrogance or denial can be costly.”

3rd Congressional District

Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse: “Tawni and I are keeping the President, the First Lady, and those at the White House who have tested positive for COVID-19 in our thoughts and prayers. We’re wishing them a speedy recovery. We know what we need to do to keep each other safe — wash our hands a lot, practice good social distancing, and wear a facial covering when we’re in public. By working together, we can defeat this virus and emerge even stronger.”

Derrick Van Orden, R-Hager City (challenger): “We will be praying for you and @FLOTUS full and speedy recovery. We are with you both!”

4th Congressional District

Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee: “The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 206,000 Americans. And we are still in the midst of this pandemic. I wish that President Trump and the First Lady make a quick recovery. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.”

5th Congressional District

Tom Palzewicz, D-Brookfield (candidate): “Wear a mask.”

6th Congressional District:

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the President and the First Lady today as they battle this virus. Here’s to a swift and full recovery!”

7th Congressional District

Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua: “Wishing @POTUS and @FLOTUS a speedy recovery. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! Together, we will continue to fight the COVID-19 virus.”

8th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay: “Anne and I join the rest of the country in wishing @POTUS and @FLOTUS a fast recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their family.”

Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton (challenger): “I wish the President, First Lady, and tens of thousands of Americans currently battling coronavirus a swift recovery. This virus infects indiscriminately and we need our elected officials to take it serious. Now is not the time for cavalier attitudes or blatant partisanship.”

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.