As Washington followed the rapid-fire news Friday of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and his eventual hospitalization at Walter Reed Medical Center, national security and disinformation analysts watched as American adversaries sought to exploit the unfolding situation to their advantage.
Trump’s diagnosis was announced around 1 a.m. Friday morning with a tweet from his personal account. Over the following hours, the White House put out piecemeal statements that gradually became more concerning. Prior Administrations facing uncertainty at the top of America’s government have favored full briefings for the media by subject matter experts and advisors. Trump’s White House opted instead for sporadic announcements through non-traditional media channels over the course of the day which only fueled speculation.