The world reacts to President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis

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Leaders and officials from around the world largely voiced concern and support for President Donald Trump and first lady Melania on Friday after the president himself announced that both he and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19.

The president’s physician said Mr. Trump was in good health and there was no indication in tweets from the president or the first lady that either were experiencing symptoms associated with the coronavirus, but at 74, Mr. Trump’s age alone puts him at higher risk of complications from the disease.

Below are some of the messages of support — and a few less generous reactions from global adversaries — sent from global capitals early on Friday morning.


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sent Mr. Trump an official telegram wishing him a speedy recovery from COVID-19, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Kremlin.
“I am certain that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus,” Putin told Mr. Trump, according to the Interfax news agency.

Earlier Putin’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “of course, we wish President Trump a speedy, easy recovery.”  


U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was dealt a serious blow himself by a COVID-19 infection in the spring, offered his best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Trump in a tweet Friday morning.

“Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus,” Johnson said.

The British leader spent about a week in a London hospital in April with serious symptoms from the virus, including several days in intensive care.

He lauded Britain’s National Health Service for saving his life and has since recovered from the infection. He’s said that being overweight — a known risk factor — likely made his battle with the virus harder, and has since shed a significant amount of weight through a new exercise regime.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close global ally of Mr. Trump’s, wished both the president and the first lady a “speedy recovery” on Friday.

“Like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery,” the Israeli leader said in a tweet early Friday.

United Nations

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent his best wishes to President Trump and the first lady for “a quick and complete recovery,” his spokesperson told reporters this morning, according to CBS News’ Pamela Falk.  

“The President of the General Assembly was sorry to see the reports of the President and First Lady of the United States testing positive for COVID-19. He wishes them a speedy recovery,” Brenden Varma, spokesperson for U.N. General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir told CBS News in a separate statment. 

The Trump administration’s relationship with the U.N. has been fraught, with the U.S. cutting off funding to the U.N.’s health agency and threatening to withdraw from more global agencies and accords. 

World Health Organization

The head of the World Health Organization, which Mr. Trump has accused of lying about the severity of the coronavirus in collusion with China, and blamed for the wide global spread of the disease, sent his best wishes to Mr. Trump on Friday.

“My best wishes to President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS for a full and speedy recovery,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyeusus said in a Tweet.

Mr. Trump has vowed to halt U.S. funding to the WHO, claiming the global health agency is biased in favour of China.  


The state-run news outlet China Daily posted a message on Twitter appearing to mock Mr. Trump for not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously before he tested positive for it himself. 

“The positive test is yet another reminder that the coronavirus continues to spread, even as Trump has tried desperately to suggest it no longer poses a danger,” the outlet tweeted. 

The editor of China’s Global Times newspaper, which is often considered a mouthpiece for the government, went further, saying Mr. Trump and the first lady had “paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19.”

Editor Hu Xijin, who often mocks U.S. officials on social media, said the Trumps’ diagnosis would “impose a negative impact on the image of Trump and the US, and may also negatively affect his reelection.”

There was no immediate official reaction to the Trump’s diagnoses from China’s government.


India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, another close ally of Mr. Trump’s, tweeted his wishes for the U.S. president and first lady to have a “quick recovery and good health.” 

Modi’s sentiments were repeated by Indian President Rashtrapati Bhavan, who said: “Our prayers and best wishes are with you during this time.” 


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wished the Trumps “a speedy recovery” on Friday. 

“I sincerely hope that they will overcome the quarantine period without problems and regain their health as soon as possible,” he said in a tweet. 

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