State Rep. Fine calls for empathy after Trump tests COVID-19 positive

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President Donald Trump speaks at Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building May 30, 2020. SpaceX launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule from pad 39A, marking the first time American astronauts are launched to space from U.S. soil in nine years. (Photo: Antonia Jaramillo / Florida Today)

Like much of the nation State Representative Randy Fine awoke Friday to the news President Trump and the first lady tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and said he hopes Americans will unite in a time of “education, reflection and empathy.”

“I just woke up to learn that the President and First Lady have COVID-19. Wendy and I know what they are about to go through and will pray for their swift and speedy recovery,” Fine wrote on Facebook.

“When I woke up and saw my Facebook feed, I didn’t believe it for a minute” he told FLORIDA TODAY over the phone Friday morning. “I was just stunned.”

Fine was planning on attending Trump’s scheduled rally Friday in Sanford, FL which is now cancelled.

Fine and, his wife, and two sons all contracted the coronavirus in late July. All recovered though Fine required hospitalization and suffered substantial lung damage. 

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A selfie by Republican State Rep. Randy Fine from his hospital bed at Holmes Regional Medical Center on Aug 4., 2020 where he was admitted for observation for COVID-19. (Photo: Courtesy of Randy Fine)

“I hope that this serves as a time of education, reflection, and empathy among all Americans. Perhaps this will help us unite in ways that have been so elusive for so long,” Fine’s post continued. 

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The Republican, who represents the southern part of Brevard County in the Florida legislature, has become known for regular social media updates on the coronavirus.

He used Facebook to chronicle his own ordeal with COVID-19, and has been outspoken on issues such as mask-wearing, the over-hyping of hydroxychloroquine and the potential severity of the illness. 

Fine told FLORIDA TODAY that his advice to the President was to “be patient and don’t assume that how you feel on day one is how you will feel on day 12,” pointing out that he wasn’t hospitalized until the 12th day after his positive test result.

“Having COVID is a journey. It ebbs and it flows. And so I wish them luck as they go through this and I know I’ll be praying for them,” he said. 

Fine also said that dealing with COVID-19 is more than just the disease itself, the steroids and blood thinners he was put on had their own unpleasant side-effects, and the effect of being bed-ridden for several weeks affected his fitness then there’s also the psychological aspect of dealing with the uncertainty of the illness. His recovery has been slow, nearly two months later he’s only now able to complete a 5 mile walk. 

Fine said he hopes the President is lucky and the disease presents as asymptomatic, and noted that the way people view the disease will likely be determined by how it affects Trump. “I think the public mood will to some degree follow the President’s journey (with) COVID,” he said. 

“Like, what else can go wrong? When you think 2020 can’t get any worse: No, here you go. It’s a sad thing. It’s our president and he has a serious disease. That’s upsetting to anyone, everyone. And as I wrote l hope this brings people together because no one deserves this,” he said.

He concluded his post with an appeal to prayer from Americans across the political divide. 

“Republicans, Democrats, and Independents prayed for me when I had it — and I know it worked — and I hope 1000 times as many will now do so for our President and First Lady,” he wrote.

Fine is seeking re-election in November, running against Democrat Phil Moore. 

Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon is a watchdog reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact him at 321-355-8144, or [email protected] Twitter: @alemzs

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