'Sick and in Isolation': CNN's Jake Tapper Says Trump Has Become Symbol of His Own Failures

CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday reacted to debate between supporters and critics of President Donald Trump who are wavering between sympathy and anger over his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Sunday's State of the Union segment—entitled "Wishing Trump well while wishing things had been different"—addressed how many Americans practiced social distancing, wore masks and avoided public spaces for months while the president held large campaign rallies and mocked masks prior to his Friday infection.

Tapper said "many, if not most" people who are packing bars and rejecting science are prolonging the pandemic and "taking cues" from Trump.

Tapper stressed that he wishes Trump and several other recently infected GOP lawmakers a speedy recovery, but said of the president's failed leadership: "Sick and in isolation, Mr. President, you have become a symbol of your own failures."

"Many Americans are likely feeling both sympathy and anger today, emotions that don't necessarily mix well. Sympathy for all of those suffering, including President Trump, who remains at Walter Reed Medical Center. But also anger because so much—so much of all this pain could have been avoided," the CNN host said. "So many of us since March have been doing everything we can to preserve the health of not only ourselves and our families, but our communities, our neighbors, you."

"The Americans who don't listen to science or medicine who think masks are too intrusive, who pack bars, who willfully risk spreading the virus, you are making it worse for all of us. You are extending how long this pandemic will last. And it is tragic to say, many, if not most, of you are taking your cues from the leader of the free world," Tapper continued.

The show producers played a clip of Trump mocking a reporter for wearing a mask while trying to ask a question. Additionally, footage showed Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee hugging several people at the recent White House event marking Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination. The September 26 Rose Garden event was attended by a number of people who have since been diagnosed with coronavirus. Among them were Lee, Senator Thom Tillis, and former White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

"Look at Senator Mike Lee at this event. My God. How are future generations going to try to make sense of these images of the Republican leaders of the nation acting like this during a once-in-a-century pandemic with more than 200,000 Americans dead?" Tapper asked of GOP lawmakers and Trump himself.

Last week, Tapper described the debate between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden as a "hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck—that was the worst debate I've ever seen—in fact it wasn't even a debate, it was a disgrace." He said much of the blame for the first presidential debate going off the rails could be placed squarely on the president.

Newsweek reached out to the White House Sunday afternoon for any reaction.

jake tapper trump symbol failure
Tapper stressed that he wishes Trump and several other recently infected GOP lawmakers a speedy recovery, but said of the president's failed leadership: "Sick and in isolation, Mr. President, you have become a symbol of your own failures." Screenshot: Twitter | CNN