The Jolt: After Donald Trump’s COVID diagnosis, most kept it polite. But not everyone.

Two of the more dangerous complications that come with a presidential diagnosis of COVID -19 are Schadenfreude Syndrome and RAD, or Responsibility Avoidance Disorder.

For the most part, political figures in Georgia and beyond avoided both on Twitter this morning when responding to President Donald Trump’s 1 a.m. announcement that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

But some have yielded to temptation.

Gov. Brian Kemp properly sent Trump a get-well message. Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who has been hammering Trump on his handling of the pandemic, wished the incumbent and his wife a “swift recovery.” Two Georgia Democrats drew on their own experiences with the virus. From Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the First Family, and all suffering with the Coronavirus. A COVID-19 diagnosis is unsettling, and even more so when a loved one also tests positive.”


And from Sarah Riggs Amico, the former U.S. Senate candidate:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the First Family, and all suffering with the Coronavirus. A COVID-19 diagnosis is unsettling, and even more so when a loved one also tests positive.”


Nikema Williams, who chairs the state Democratic party and is on course to replace the late John Lewis in Congress, was an outlier:

“Looks like somebody should be more consistent with wearing a mask like our next POTUS @JoeBiden! #VOTE”


Cody Hall, a spokesman for Kemp, called Williams' comment “gross.”

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Senate candidate who himself has developed a reputation for volatility on Twitter, passed this judgment on Williams: “Devoid of logic and filled with hate. You’re going to fit in great with Washington Democrats.”

But it isn’t illogical to point out that President Trump’s cavalier attitude toward the coronavirus and the wearing of masks – on full display at Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland -- very likely played a role in this drama. And that personal responsibility matters.

Yet some are trying. From U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler: “Remember: China gave this virus to our President @realDonaldTrump and First Lady @FLOTUS. WE MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.”


A few updates on a fast-moving news day:

-- White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Trump is experiencing mild covid-19 symptoms and is working from the residence, according to the Washington Post.

-- On GPB’s “Political Rewind,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor of epidemiology at Emory University, said this morning that President Trump’s quarantine period should be about 10 days, raising the possibility that – if no symptoms bar him – he might be able to make the second presidential debate on Oct. 15.

-- And there was this dire paragraph in a quick New York Times assessment: “As stock futures fell overnight Friday, strategists in both parties and even senior aides to Mr. Trump said the president would face a harsh judgment from voters for throwing the country into greater uncertainty after one of the most trying years in American history.”


It is also helpful to remember that the White House didn’t voluntarily disclose that the coronavirus had reached President Donald Trump’s inner circle. Their hand was forced by this Twitter disclosure from Jennifer Jacobs, the White House reporter for Bloomberg:

NEWS: Hope Hicks, who traveled with Trump aboard Air Force One to and from the presidential debate on Tuesday, and to his Minnesota rally yesterday, has coronavirus, sources tell me.



How can Donald Trump’s COVID diagnosis change Georgia races? Consider that U.S. Sen. David Perdue just launched a face-to-camera TV ad with this script:

“Before COVID-19 we were experiencing the best economic turnaround in U. S. history. We have changed the direction of our country for the better. As we defeat COVID and reopen our businesses, we will get this economy going again. I won’t let liberals, especially those who have never created a single job, use this virus as an excuse to force changes that would destroy our way of life.”



On Thursday, a fresh poll commissioned by WSB-TV and executed by Landmark Communications showed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden deadlocked with Republican incumbent Donald Trump in Georgia. Biden was at 47% and Trump was at 45% - within the poll’s margin of error.

It’s the first survey to capture reaction from the Tuesday debate in Cleveland. A Sept. 1 WSB poll conducted by Landmark had Trump leading Biden, 48-41%.

So that’s a major shift.


We received a flurry of texts about a Wednesday panel discussion organized by the Atlanta Young Republicans on the outdoor patio of a Taco Mac in Brookhaven that was abruptly suspended.

The panel on policing measures had been underway for about an hour when organizers received a call from the restaurant’s general manager saying the event must immediately be shut down, said Gabe Hartwig, the group’s president.

When attendees stayed around for about 45 minutes to speak in small groups with the panelists -- a state senator, law enforcement officer and public defender -- they were told that police would be called if they didn’t leave.

Hartwig said he and another club official reached out to the restaurant’s general manager to “learn what part of our event had been deemed offensive, how it was reported, and the rationale behind the treatment we received.” He said his requests were ignored.

“Republicans and Democrats alike should all be united around protection of free speech,” he wrote, adding that Taco Mac is “well within their right as business owners to decide who may hold meetings within their facility.”

Still, he added, the event had been reserved with the restaurant for weeks and that the group had been meeting regularly at the location since January, aside from a short stretch during the peak of the pandemic.

UPDATE: We heard from Melissa Libby, a Taco Mac spokeswoman, who said the restaurant wasn’t made aware that the event would involve a panel discussion. From her statement:

"Our guests come to Taco Mac to enjoy beer, wings, and sports with their families and friends. Therefore, it is disruptive to their dining experience to unexpectedly be party to a panel discussion, regardless of the topic.

"It is our promise to our guests and our team members that at any point, if any party behaves in a way to make anyone feel uncomfortable while working in or patronizing our restaurant, we politely ask that person or group to stop.

“The panel discussion led to multiple complaints, at which point a manager asked the group to end the unauthorized panel discussion. We look forward to hosting the Atlanta Young Republicans for future events.”


The U.S. House is scheduled to vote today on a resolution stemming from a recent whistleblower’s complaint alleging mistreatment at an immigration detention center in Georgia.

The measure doesn’t carry the weight of law but would condemn unwanted or unnecessary medical procedures performed on individuals at federal holding facilities without their full, informed consent.

Last month, several groups jointly filed a federal lawsuit based on testimony of a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, who said that a gynecologist routinely performed procedures that were unnecessary or not fully explained to the patients who received them, including hysterectomies.

Operators of the privately owned prison have denied the allegations.


On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed the Rev. Raphael Warnock’s bid to join Democratic ranks in the chamber.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately sent word it had “bookmarked” the endorsement for a likely attack in the January runoff, when Warnock could face either incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler or U.S. Rep. Doug Collins.

“Warnock has faced recent criticism for disgusting comments made about law enforcement and now today’s socialist endorsement reminds Georgians that he does not share their values,” said Nathan Brand, the group’s spokesman.


Democrats in the U.S. House were unable to reach an agreement with the Trump administration on a new coronavirus stimulus bill, so instead they moved forward with approving their latest $2.2 trillion package on Thursday night.

The bill, considered a revised version of legislation passed in May, is largely symbolic and intended to give political cover to moderate Democrats going into the final days of the election season.

The House approved the bill 214 to 207, with 18 Democrats joining Republicans in voting “no.” All voting Georgia members stuck to the party line.


Five vulnerable Senate Republicans on Thursday broke with President Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, in an attempt to insulate themselves from Democratic attacks on health care, according to The Hill newspaper:

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Cory Gardner (Colo.) Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) voted to advance a Democratic-sponsored bill that would block the Justice Department from advocating in court for the invalidation of ObamaCare. The measure was supported by all Senate Democrats and just one other Republican.


U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler voted no. The measure won 51 votes, but needed 60 to advance.


A group of Democratic state legislators dropped a hip hop track, “Vote Your Voice,” with an accompanying video on Thursday, our AJC colleague Maya T. Prabhu reports. Much of it was shot in the state Capitol.

“We just wanted to educate the people and encourage them to get registered to vote,” said state Rep. Erica Thomas of Mableton.

The song features verses from Thomas and state Rep. Derrick Jackson of Tyrone and featuring state Rep. Miriam Paris of Macon on the hook. The three lawmakers share policy positions, encourage residents to know who represents them in the state Capitol and urge constituents to cast ballots during the general election.


Stacey Abrams has been making the media rounds promoting her new documentary, “All in the Fight,” which debuted this week on Amazon Prime Video. But her visit this week to Andy Cohen’s Bravo show “Watch What Happens Live” caught our attention, thanks to the territory Cohen covered that even your Insiders have never gotten to.

For example, first celebrity crush? Prince. Alcohol or ice cream after a long day? Abrams doesn’t drink, she said, so ice cream it is, especially Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Abrams also praised the cast of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” for their recent activism for racial justice, declared her own Housewives tagline (“You can’t suppress me, don’t think you can suppress my vote.”), and gave a thumbs up to a recent get-out-the-vote PSA featuring Atlanta exotic dancers urging voters to “get your booty to the polls.”

And we all know Abrams has been mingling with the celebrity set, but she confirmed Wednesday that she’s even texting with Oprah. “She reached to me and asked when I was available and my literal response was, ‘Whenever you need me to be.’”

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