President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, the president announced early Friday. The announcement of his positive diagnosis came shortly after one of his close aides, Hope Hicks, was confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus.
However, some social media users think the president is faking his diagnosis as part of a last-ditch attempt to win the upcoming election against Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Fake Diagnosis to 'Blow Biden Off the Screens'
A social media user who "predicted" Trump's coronavirus infection two weeks ago claims it is a ruse to get more media coverage than his Democratic rival and former Vice President Joe Biden in the month leading up to the election in November.
In a tweet posted on Sept. 18 in response to a post by American journalist and blogger Josh Marshall about the lack of face masks and the heightened risk of exposure at Trump's rally in Wisconsin, user @JohnCammo tweeted that Trump will make a "fake" announcement of his positive diagnosis in October in a bid to "blow Biden off the screens."
"Trump's October surprise will be the announcement of 'his infection.' Fake, but quite dramatic. This twist will blow Biden off the screens, the "Trump COVID watch" dominating every minute of every day," he wrote. "Then, 14 days later, Trump will emerge, 100% cured by hydroxychloroquine."
Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine as a cure to coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic and told reporters in May that he started taking the malaria drug, which studies have found to offer little benefit as treatment.
Trump's Campaign in 'Dire Straits'
The tweet, which has since amassed more than 2,500 retweets and hundreds of comments, with many pushing the theory the president's positive diagnosis is a ploy to "steal" the election.
"This is 100% plausible," wrote one user. "Trump's campaign is in absolutely dire straits both financially & in terms of his poll numbers. He is facing almost certain defeat. And desperate times call for desperate measures! I wouldn't put it past Trump to be faking the positive result.
A number of Twitter users have also pushed the theory that the president is "faking" the diagnosis to get out of any more disastrous debates, gain sympathy or to distract the world from his $750 tax scandal, which, in turn, would help bring up his poll numbers.
Another camp of conspiracy theorists believes the president is saying he's infected so he can say how quickly he recovered from the disease and how coronavirus is not at all as bad as it seems, given that he has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic.