Is Trump Catching COVID a National Security Crisis?

President Donald Trump's COVID diagnosis could be a dangerous moment for the country and endanger national security, according to some expert commentators on the matter.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump revealed their positive test results on Thursday, while Counselor to the President Hope Hicks is also infected. There are concerns that Vice President Mike Pence could have been exposed.

Veteran journalist and political commentator Carl Bernstein, part of the team that helped to expose the Watergate scandal, told CNN's Don Lemon on Thursday night that Trump's "recklessness" had contributed to this moment.

"We are now in the midst of a national security crisis," Bernstein told Lemon.

"We have to be concerned about adversaries, particularly Russia, taking advantage of this situation for its own purposes. We have to think about possible cyber-manipulation of the markets.

"We've talked about the markets, it's obviously going to have huge effect. We don't know the future of this election debate, which depends on the president's health. We don't know what his health is going to be.

"It's going to totally upend the end of the election campaign. So every aspect of our national life, in terms of stability, is now affected in waves that we could never envisioned a day ago. And I think we need to start from that perspective," he said.

CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd made a similar point early Friday morning. Vinograd has served in several diplomatic and national security roles. She told the network's Anderson Cooper that Trump's diagnosis made the country vulnerable.

"From a national security perspective, we are deep into the danger zone," Vinograd said. "On a strategic level, the notion that the President was unwilling or unable to do what was necessary to protect himself doesn't inspire confidence in the credibility of the United States to confront the global challenge. That is a major win for our adversaries.

"On a tactical level, Anderson, this is a moment of prime vulnerability. We know our adversaries, whether it be nation states or criminal actors look for vulnerabilities in the national security apparatus."

She said the White House was likely conducting crisis mitigation, as in other national crises she's covered. However, this could mean fewer resources in some areas.

"The fact of the matter is that the President of the United States is compromised when it comes to doing his job. He, Hope Hicks and likely several other members of the senior national security apparatus are not going to be able to fully perform their duties and responsibilities," Vinograd said.

"That means that there are vulnerabilities in the coverage of national security threats. We don't have all hands on deck. This is a key moment of vulnerability when it comes to national security."

There has already been speculation about invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president to become acting president in the event the sitting president cannot fulfill their duties. Others have argued it may be necessary for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to do so if Pence also falls ill.

President Donald Trump Speaks to Reporters
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on his way to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on September 30 in Washington, D.C. President Trump is traveling to Minnesota for a fundraising event and a campaign rally. Trump has tested positive for COVID-19 Drew Angerer/Getty Images