16 And Pregnant Update: Are Madisen And Christian Back Together?

Madisen admitted on the season premiere of 16 and Pregnant that she had a hard time “moving on and letting go” after splitting with with her baby daddy Christian. But at the end of the episode, Camille’s mama predicted that despite her breakup with the young dad, the two would “work it out” and co-parent their little girl. So have the former cheerleader/football player reconciled, and are they boyfriend and girlfriend again?

“We are working things out now,” Madisen reveals in the recently filmed catch up video above. “He’s living [back here] with me and the baby. So far things are going pretty good.”

How is Madisen’s dad Nick — who appears in the clip as well — adapting to life as a grandfather? And is Madisen still residing in the “tiny house”? Watch the “where are they now?” update to find out, and tune in to 16 and Pregnant tales every Tuesday at 9/8c (immediately following brand-new installments of Teen Mom 2).

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The Wanted’s Tom Parker Reveals He’s Been Diagnosed With A Brain Tumor

Tom Parker, one of the five members of the early-2010s boy band The Wanted, has revealed he’s been diagnosed with a brain tumor and that he’s been undergoing treatment. In an emotional Instagram post on Monday (October 12), the British singer wrote that instead of battling privately or trying to keep his diagnosis a secret, he decided to “lay out all the details and let everyone know the facts in our own way.”

He also gave an accompanying interview to OK! magazine where he revealed he has an inoperable “grade four glioblastoma tumor,” diagnosed after he began experiencing seizures.

“We are all absolutely devastated but we are gonna fight this all the way,” he wrote on Instagram in a note co-signed by his wife, Kelsey Hardwick. “We don’t want your sadness, we just want love and positivity and together we will raise awareness of this terrible disease and look for all available treatment options.”

Parker, 32, began a career with The Wanted in 2009, alongside fellow members Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, and Nathan Sykes. Over the next five years, they scored three top-10 albums in the U.K. and are perhaps best known globally for their infectious 2011 electronic dance-pop hit “Glad You Came,” which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group went on indefinite hiatus in 2014.

Parker and Hardwick share a daughter, Aurelia, and are currently expecting their second child, a boy. They ended their note with a message of resilience and hope: “It’s gonna be a tough battle but with everyone’s love and support we are going to beat this.”

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Ava Max’s Heaven & Hell In Quarantine And Beyond

What is Ava Max going as for Halloween this year? “Something hellish. I feel hellish, as you can tell,” she said to MTV News on a recent Zoom call. “I’m wearing all black. I’ve been wearing all black the last two weeks a lot.”

Of course, feeling hellish is only half of Max’s story. On the “Sweet But Psycho” singer’s energetic debut album, Heaven & Hell, she’s both angel and devil, as asymmetrical as her trademark hairstyle. Max split the LP into its two titular parts after dreaming up the concept en route to the 2019 VMAs, where she performed during the red-carpet pre-show. She finished the ethereal opening track, “H.E.A.V.E.N.,” during quarantine earlier this year with producer and collaborator Cirkut. And to listen to Heaven & Hell is to discover not divine highs and evil lows, but a steady stream of uptempo electro-pop that could power an hourlong cycling class, a much-needed solo dance session, and just getting shit done.

That’s by design, too. “I try and make it super empowering, each song, and motivating, but I also want there to be a story, but then I also want you to be able to dance to it,” she said. “But then on top of that, I want it to be weird and theatrical. So I feel like, personally I like to have my cake and eat it, too.”

She dropped Heaven & Hell in September; by October 2, her biggest song (and so far, her signature song), “Sweet But Psycho” had reached the staggering milestone of 1 billion streams on Spotify. It’s all part of the long tail of Max’s success that began when she was a teenager chasing pop success. Now, thanks to a smash hit and a conceptually bold debut album, she’s getting comfortable showing off the various parts of herself. And she can’t wait for Halloween candy: “Snickers, Smarties, and maybe a Ring Pop. I love a Ring Pop. Let’s be real.”

MTV News talked to Max about Heaven & Hell, where she’ll keep her streaming-milestone plaque, and why chestnuts have the key to her heart.

MTV News: “Sweet But Psycho” just hit a billion streams on Spotify, which is insane. I feel like our brains can’t even fathom what a billion of anything is.

Ava Max: It’s insane to me, too. I’m like, really? You guys streamed that song 1 billion times? It’s funny, because my dad was hearing a lot of songs before I released “Sweet But Psycho.” He was like, “Ah, that song, we’ll see. It’s super pop.” At the time, there was not any pop. So my dad was like, “I don’t know.” He liked my slower songs that I never release, actually, that he’s like, “Oh, those will probably do better.” Now I hit a billion. I was like, “Dad, look. There are a billion.”

MTV News: I know the RIAA will send you a Gold or a Platinum record. Does Spotify send you any fun care package when that happens?

Max: I think they’re sending me a plaque, which I just got told. So that’s really cool.

MTV News: Where do you think you’ll put it? A place of prominence?

Max: Probably over my shoes in my closet. OK, so I don’t like to show off like that. I wouldn’t put it where people would see. It’s only for me privately, because I feel so awkward showing off my plaques. You know what I mean? My mom has them in her hallway in her house. Then every time I go, I’m like, that’s so awkward. I don’t know. I’m more of a private person. I talk about myself all day long in interviews. I don’t want to talk about myself when my friends come over. “Oh, look at that plaque!” Oh, no. I don’t want to see my face anywhere in my house.

MTV News: Your album Heaven & Hell is split between those two concepts. Where did that idea come from?

Max: Heaven & Hell, for me, it just made sense, because everything I’ve been through in my life has been heaven and hell. Everything in between has been up and downs: relationships, careers. I think nothing is ever perfect, or 100 percent amazing, or 100 percent bad. I think it’s all a mixture. It just made sense to me for what we go through as humans. It’s nothing religious, because I’m a very spiritual person. It’s more so just about the emotions we go through in life. For instance, my album came out two weeks ago, and then two days after my album came out, my grandpa passed. So it was very hard to celebrate my album because of that. It’s crazy, because I was talking about it so much, and it happened to me. I felt like I was living in heaven, but also hell, because I was so sad about my grandpa’s passing. It was the craziest feeling of emotions. It’s exactly what I talk about. It’s life. So that’s why Heaven & Hell, for me, is the perfect album title for my big album.

MTV News: I know this has been a hard year, and, obviously, it sounds like it just got a lot harder. I’m sorry to hear that. Is there stuff that you have been really coming back to, musically, to help?

Max: Well, when my album came out, I really liked listening to upbeat, empowering music, but then, I don’t know, when I’m in a sad mood sometimes, it takes me a minute, because music makes me think of all the memories, and it makes me cry even more. I mean, I think it depends. Now, music is helping me, but initially, the first few days, I have to be in quiet. But now, I definitely need to listen to upbeat music. Anything like Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child — something to get me feeling motivated, because I know that’s what my grandpa would have wanted.

MTV News: Do have anything you could say, or any pointers you could give, to people who still want to just dance to your album, even though they can’t dance in clubs or with people right now?

Max: Turn off your lights and dance in the dark. I like the nighttime. I’m a night owl. So I dance in the nighttime. But it’s a workout album, too. I love to workout to upbeat music. That’s why I made such motivating, empowering songs, because I personally feel like I go even harder working out, or even doing little things, I don’t know, cooking a meal. I like to put on music. I think as long as I’m putting out empowering music, I think it helps with all those things. Dancing, working out, creating your goals for the future.

MTV News: You mentioned cooking. Is that something you did a lot with some found time in quarantine? Because you, unfortunately, weren’t able to tour and do things like that?

Max: The beginning of quarantine, I did not [order from] Postmates because I was so terrified. I cooked every single meal. I’m not even kidding you. I told my mom, I’m like, I give you kudos, because my wrists were hurting. I was cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My niece would come over, I would make her food, and then I’d be like, wow, moms do so much. That was just cooking. That wasn’t even cleaning up babies, which I don’t have. I’m like, imagine being a mom. Kudos to moms. I just clap for all moms out there. Because the cooking was hard all day.

MTV News: Did you have a signature dish you made?

Max: Tacos. I love tacos. I was making a lot of tacos. I was making a lot of pasta. I was making a lot of really comforting food. Let’s just say my jeans did not fit at the beginning of quarantine.

MTV News: Were you bingeing any TV shows? Did you see any movies that you were like, “I need this in my life?”

Max: I regret watching Tiger King. I regret that, because everyone was watching Tiger King. Do you remember at the beginning? I was just like, no, I’m not going to watch it. Finally, I watched it. It was bad. I mean, I did not like it. Yes, it was a good show. Right? But it was just like, I don’t want to see them mistreating tigers. I just didn’t like the whole anger thing. I remember getting a headache after watching that. Other than that, I loved Dead to Me with Christina Applegate. Another one I watched was Little Fires Everywhere with Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. Oh my god! I love small-town dramas. Can you tell?

MTV News: What are you excited for in the rest of 2020?

Max: I am excited for the holidays. Is that weird? I’m excited to spend time with my family, roast some marshmallows by the fire, eat some chestnuts. A lot of people don’t know this, but chestnuts are one of my favorite foods.

MTV News: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire?

Max: Not even kidding you. It’s an Albanian thing, too. Albanians love to make chestnuts during the wintertime. We can turn into a chestnut if we eat too many. It’s full of carbs. But anyway, I’m also excited because I’m finishing the deluxe [edition of Heaven & Hell], and I’m really, really excited for everyone to hear these records as well. It’s just a lot of music. I promise you guys there will be no shortage of music.

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How Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory Design Helped Define The Band

It’s an image of contrast: a soldier with dragonfly wings rendered in bleeding graffiti sprays, the personification of the title Hybrid Theory. On the cover artwork of Linkin Park‘s masterful, ground-moving debut, the entire concept is there: loud guitars with hip-hop beats, rap verses between screaming melodic choruses, a test of duality. A hybrid theory.

Supplemented with a street-art logo, the cover came to define the visual part of Linkin Park’s breakthrough era as much as it echoed the sound of the music itself. Released in October 2000, Hybrid Theory became the best-selling album of 2001, capitalizing on the freight train of momentum the band had built from its early live shows and meticulous studio crafting. It’s since become one of the most profitable debuts of all time, stacked with several of the group’s signature songs, including the indelible “In the End.” A new Hybrid Theory 20th anniversary release, out today (October 9), unspools that history with unearthed demos and additional artwork, including creations by Frank Maddocks, currently VP Creative Services at Warner Records, who collaborated with the band to finalize the imagery for the original release.

“I just know that at the time, stylistically, it just looked cool,” Maddocks tells MTV News about the design. “I think that there’s maybe a nod to kind of some Russian constructivism in there. There’s maybe some Shepard Fairey sneaking through.”

That blend of styles came from conversations Maddocks and the label’s creative team had with the band, who had initially gone by the moniker Hybrid Theory before settling on Linkin Park. Maddocks said vocalist-producer Mike Shinoda and DJ Joe Hahn — both visual artists themselves — arrived to their first meeting with books and magazines ready to use as reference points for the album. “It was definitely rare,” he said. “Just kind of seeing that much thought and that much focus and that much intent from the band was really impressive.”

Maddocks said his visual work with Deftones, including the design for their seminal 2000 album White Pony, helped attract Linkin Park to his team. In the 20 years since, he’s continued to work with both bands, leading the charge for Deftones’s latest, Ohms, released last month.

To commemorate the new Hybrid Theory anniversary release, Maddocks broke down the process for finalizing the Hybrid Theory artwork collaboratively, how fan tattoos keep it alive (especially after singer Chester Bennington’s 2017 death), and what’s special about visiting the old material.

Mick Hutson/Redferns

MTV News: It seems the band knew how they wanted to represent themselves visually, but how did the final artwork for Hybrid Theory come about?

Frank Maddocks: I think through just only a few conversations, we came up with this kind of a militant vibe. We were all really interested in Banksy at the time, and stenciling, and this kind of propaganda. I think that was something that we all really [clung] to, and so the idea of a stencil of some sort of a figure or a soldier or a militant vibe came across, and then it was like, “OK, well what can we mix this with? How do we present the other side of what this is? Because on its own, that’s a really cool image, but we want to kind of do a double-take. We want to have a juxtaposition of something kind of more thoughtful and emotional with this kind of more aggressive kind of icon.”

I literally have the sketchbooks where I’m writing notes down of possible things that it could be. At one point, I was writing butterfly wings, this and that. We liked the idea of these delicate dragonfly wings, and then I liked the idea of kind of almost making it look like someone had painted them on the street like you had the soldier initially, but then someone came along and added to that piece. That was the desired effect, this push and pull of images.

MTV News: What were your impressions of their music at the time?

Maddocks: I remember hearing the music for the first time and really being blown away and completely understanding how this music made sense for the time, how it made sense as them as a band amongst their peers. We all understood it. I gotta say, it was amazing hearing the music, and that album is still incredible. I don’t think any of us had any vision that obviously it would be as big as it is, so that was a pretty exciting thing to kind of watch the world kind of embrace this album. And then seeing them live… We all got invited down to see them play at the Whisky [a Go Go]. I think they were still called Hybrid Theory at the time. I mean, they were just flawless. It was unbelievable. It was almost like just listening to the record.

MTV News: The album became the best-selling album of 2001. How much did that success influence what you ended up doing with them in the future on, say, 2003’s followup Meteora and 2004’s Collision Course [with Jay-Z] and beyond?

Maddocks: I think I’ve heard the band say this, too, but you’re not so much aware of how big something is until you’ve had some time to kind of process everything and step away from it. Those records and everything that came with those records came so fast and there was so much work to do that you never really had downtime to say, oh, wow, isn’t this really special? And look — 100,000 people have this image tattooed on them, and that’s really cool.

I’d say that the success of the imagery only maybe gave me confidence in that I was headed in the right direction for the band and the fan base. When Mike gives me a few buzzwords to go off on or something, he knows that I’m going to riff on that and take it exponentially more than just the few things that he gave me, just because we’ve shared so many years together.

So Meteora, that was — again, with the success of Hybrid Theory, we were afforded a lot more real estate to create some really grandiose imagery, which was a lot of fun. Collision Course was a lot of fun, too, working with David Choe, who’s an illustrator who’s gone on to be an amazing fine artist.

MTV News: You brought up fans and fan tattoos. Such a huge part of the band’s fan base is really wearing their fandom in the same way that Chester’s flame tattoos on his wrists were such a huge part of him and his whole personality. Have you seen fan art and fan tattoos especially that have stuck out to you?

Maddocks: I have of many bands that I’ve worked with, and Linkin Park probably has the most. I mean, it’s funny because the art that I’ve made is on millions of records, obviously, and that’s so cool, but it kind of is the coolest thing ever when you see somebody with your art tattooed on them. That’s just like this amazing kind of tribute. Obviously, I know it’s because the music is so special to them and I’m happy to just lend a hand to that, but I got to think somewhere, if the art was really lame, it probably wouldn’t be tattooed. I still get so stoked on seeing this most simplest of things, like a tattoo or a sticker on someone’s car or a T-shirt.

MTV News: And along those same lines, I know the 20th-anniversary edition has new art along with the unreleased material. Can you talk a little bit about what’s included?

Maddocks: It’s funny you bring up the tattoos because I actually did a few sections in the book that are dedicated to fan tattoos and all the different renditions — mostly, it’s the album cover. There’s some fun stuff like that for the fans included in the book. There’s tons of never-before-seen or very seldom-seen photographs from that era. There’s some new artwork or some kind of revamped artwork from the day put in there. Everything is kind of seen through a new lens.

The way I design things is that if we’re doing something 20 years later, even if I’m taking older designs and photographs, I still want to treat them in a new way. Even if you’ve seen some of this stuff, you’ve haven’t seen it in this way and collected in this setting. I think that it’s going to be really special for a lot of the fans. The guys were looking through the book the other day, the guys in the band, and some of them don’t even remember some of that stuff, the photos and all that stuff, so it’s a great time capsule for them. I think from the super fan to the casual fan, people will appreciate it.

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Soccer Mommy’s Space-Age Synths, Junglepussy’s Salad Slams, And More Songs We Love

This week’s Bop Shop includes tracks by Blackpink, Junglepussy, Why Don’t We, Joohoney, and more.

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500 And Counting: Ridiculousness Is Celebrating A Major Milestone

Here is some important ridiculousness news.

MTV’s iconic Internet video clip show Ridiculousness — with host Rob Dyrdek as well as Sterling “Steelo” Brim and Chanel West Coast — is commemorating its 500th episode tonight. The gang will look back at their most treasured moments, unforgettable celebrity guests and much more. Oh, and Chanel’s laughter.

This calls for a celebration — with lots of ridiculous behavior! Do not miss the series’ 500th episode tonight at 11/10c — and drop your fave memories from the show in the comments!

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This Man Says He Had To Become A Catfish — Or He’d Be Murdered

Would you risk your life for love? The latest episode of Catfish, which explored the complexities of dangerous, political turmoil in Venezuela, posed the question in black and white, but the results had a woman who was looking for love ultimately seeing red.

As part of MTV’s latest online love investigation, Nev and Kamie met a woman named Dianela via Zoom (Catfish: Quarantine Edition remains in full swing), who said she’d been in a back-and-forth relationship with a man named Jose for nearly four years. Dianela, who first came in contact with Jose while they were both playing Black Ops 3 in their native Venezuela, said they lived in different cities, but their online connection made her feel at home.

“This is like a wild international love story out of a movie,” Nev said as Dianela chronicled the couple’s tug of war.

Still, there was trouble afoot — Dianela routinely bought into Jose’s declarations of love only for him to pull out the rug from underneath her, including once when she traveled 10 hours by bus to visit him, only for him to ghost her (the act was particularly dangerous in Venezuela). Dianela said she had no choice but to turn around and travel 10 hours back home.

Now both in the United States having sought asylum — he in Miami and she in Nashville — Dianela said she was willing to give the relationship one last shot.

She explained that, because of Venezuela’s notoriously low standard of income, it was conceivable that Jose was telling the truth when he claimed he couldn’t afford a new phone with which to video chat. But Nev and Kamie still had doubts, and upon kicking off a bit of research, they unearthed a man who bore absolutely no resemblance to Jose named Raumir. Then there was another man named Rey, who had suspiciously blocked Dianela from peeking at his account.

“I feel really upset,” Dianela said after getting the news. “I feel so heartbroken right now.”

With few additional moves to make, Nev cold-called the number Dianela had for Jose and asked for Rey, who — spooked — hung up after saying he had no idea who Dianela was. Refusing to accept the lie, Dianela followed suit, calling the man herself and digging into him for his lies.

“You know what? Just go f*ck yourself,” she ultimately spat before hanging up.

Dianela said she felt like she had finally reached the end of her rope, but — with some time to consider his actions — Rey suddenly joined the group’s Zoom call.

He confirmed it was he who’d been in touch with Dianela for the duration of their chatting and that he’d grown up in the same Venezuelan city; he’d since moved to Florida and, finally, Texas.

Rey explained that — because of danger that persists in Venezuela — he was afraid of being “kidnapped or killed” as a consequence of revealing too much about himself. So he hid behind the invention of Jose, and the deeper he got into the lie, the more difficult it became for him to tell the truth.

After a fiery conversation, Rey finally apologized, and, for the first time since the Catfish caper began, Dianela felt hopeful.

“You talking right now — you’re the person I met four years ago,” she said.

She and Rey said they’d keep in touch and give their relationship another shot, but after filming wrapped, Rey went silent once again. Surprised? Tell us your thoughts, then catch another Catfish Wednesday at 8/7c.

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Trump Describes COVID-19 As A ‘Blessing.’ These Young People Have Felt Its Toll

By De Elizabeth

“Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your lives.”

Those were the words of President Donald Trump on Monday, October 5, after spending 72 hours in Walter Reed Hospital where he was treated for coronavirus with a cocktail of drugs hardly any other American would be able to receive. At the time he tweeted his message, over 7.4 million people in the United States. had contracted COVID-19, with more than 210,000 dead. Later, on Wednesday (October 7), Trump released a direct-to-camera video in which he described contracting the virus as a “blessing from God.”

In many ways, Trump’s recent diagnosis felt inevitable, like the closing act of some Shakespearean tragedy. Since March, he’s continued to downplay the severity of the virus, promising it will simply “go away,” all while dismissing the importance of masks, despite their proven effectiveness. From the start of the pandemic, lack of proper testing and an undersupply of PPE for health care professionals created an uphill battle, but Trump continued to worsen things by presenting misleading information to the American public, from promoting unproven medical treatments to overhyping an inaccurate vaccine timeline. And while unreliable information is always a concern in the era of social media, according to a recent study from Cornell University, perhaps the largest driver of misinformation regarding the coronavirus has been the president himself.

Even when Trump fell victim to the very virus he’s neglected to manage, he continued to perpetuate the idea that there’s nothing to fear. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Trump composed these particularly insensitive messages from an ornate hospital suite, adorned with a crystal chandelier, a stark contrast to the images of American bodies placed in refrigerated trucks that circulated earlier this year. Nor should it be overlooked that instead of the unproven hydroxychloroquine treatment he previously touted, Trump was treated with an experimental antibody therapy that remains unavailable to most of the general public. But perhaps the most callous of all is Trump’s assertion that COVID-19 shouldn’t dominate our lives, as millions of Americans are currently sick, unemployed, or grieving a loved one.

That’s certainly been the case for Molly*, a 28-year-old writer from Michigan whose grandmother passed away in April after contracting COVID-19 at an assisted care facility. “My granny died alone,” she tells MTV News. “We couldn’t see her. We couldn’t have a funeral. I felt angry, dismissed, sad, worried.”

Because Molly wasn’t able to experience the closure a memorial often brings, she’s felt a lingering and insurmountable grief. “It’s creeping up in painful ways,” she says. “I cry constantly: driving on the freeway, simply waking up in the morning. I’m terrified of who COVID-19 might take next.”

31-year-old writer and MTV News contributor Sara Radin is also mourning the loss of her grandmother, who passed away from COVID-19 complications earlier this year while residing in an assisted living facility in Chicago. “She was sick for a week and then she was gone,” Radin says. She was not able to attend the funeral. “Watching someone you love be buried over Zoom is not something I ever thought I’d experience. It was surreal.”

Not only did Radin lose her grandmother to COVID-19, she also fought the virus herself. The Brooklyn resident was diagnosed with the coronavirus in spring and felt sick for nearly two months. “The worst symptoms for me were the body aches, fatigue, and nausea,” she shares, adding that the pattern of the illness was exceptionally challenging. “Just when I thought I was getting better, the symptoms came back full-throttle. This happened a few times.” While Radin never felt the need to go to the hospital, the psychological toll was immense. “Isolating alone for almost two months while not knowing what was happening to my body…was hard to fathom. I became totally numb.”

Maria Barbieri is another young person who battled COVID-19. The 26-year-old New Jersey resident dealt with her illness, alone, for 33 days, all while fearing she might lose her public relations job after running out of paid sick leave. “I had no instructions or medicine and was fighting high fevers, constant sweating, lack of appetite, body aches, muscle soreness, and migraines,” Barbieri says, noting that she did not seek hospitalization in order to prioritize the needs of elderly or immunocompromised folks, knowing that health care facilities were becoming overcrowded. “I am still experiencing the results of what COVID-19 did to my body.”

It’s understandable that people like Radin and Barbieri were furious to read Trump’s message on Monday, where he bragged that he feels “better than I did 20 years ago” after receiving treatment not readily available to the public with an estimated cost of $100,000 — something that very few people could afford out of pocket. “It’s selfish and horribly out of touch,” Barbieri says, to which Radin adds. “It invalidates all the lives we’ve lost and all the people who’ve suffered long-term symptoms.”

Ariel Keys has seen the wrath of the disease play out right before her eyes. The 28-year-old is currently a COVID-19 researcher and contact tracer for the state of Maryland after previously working for a network of hospitals where she coordinated surgeries and other procedures. Her health care career has opened her eyes to the realities of the pandemic, while keeping her isolated from family members out of safety precautions.

“Everyone is at risk,” Keys emphasizes, noting that she’s witnessed patients of all ages and ranges of health. “Trump is foolish. He refuses to grasp the impact this is having on people and their families. And there’s a vast number of citizens walking around completely careless, spouting nationalist ideas while doing nothing to actually care for the people in this country they ‘love so much.’”

It invalidates all the lives we’ve lost and all the people who’ve suffered long-term symptoms.

To be sure, Trump’s cavalier attitude towards the pandemic has directly influenced and emboldened his supporters. A June 2020 study from the Pew Research Center found that the majority of Republicans surveyed believed that the country was “turning a corner” in its fight with the coronavirus, which is right in line with Trump’s ongoing promises that the pandemic is “fading away.” The Pew poll also concluded that Republicans are far more likely to eschew masks than Democrats, as well as attend a crowded party.

In the days and weeks leading up to Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, the president held indoor campaign rallies in defiance of state and health regulations, where many of the attendees — and the president himself — were maskless. On September 26, dozens of Republicans gathered in the Rose Garden to celebrate Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett — an event that is now widely considered to be a “superspreader,” likely leading to the recent outbreak among GOP lawmakers and White House staffers. The disregard for his own health, as well as the wellbeing of others, continued through last week, when Trump attended a New Jersey fundraiser on Thursday (October 1) despite knowledge of Hope Hicks’s positive COVID-19 test, and thus his own exposure, and it continues to remain unclear when the president first tested positive himself. Even while receiving treatment, Trump left the hospital to take a joyride in a hermetically sealed SUV accompanied by secret service agents, possibly exposing them to the virus. His very first act upon returning to the White House on Monday? Removing his mask.

Trump has routinely shown that he prioritizes only what will benefit him; the coronavirus pandemic only emphasized that fact. In February, he told the American people that COVID-19 would weaken in the warmer months, that it would disappear “like a miracle;” that same month, he told Bob Woodward that the virus was deadlier than the average flu, later revealing in an additional interview that he “wanted to play it down” to avoid creating a panic. He pushed to reopen the economy before experts deemed it safe out of clear political gain; when faced with the growing death toll, all he could muster was: “It is what it is.” And just one day after leaving the hospital, he pulled the plug on all stimulus negotiations in lieu of pushing through his Supreme Court nomination, adding insult to injury for the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet because of his administration’s failures. (Two days later, on October 8, he claimed some negotiations would continue.) Trump’s tweet on Monday was just another display of his lack of leadership, reinforcing the fear many have held all along: he just doesn’t care.

“As a leader of this country, citizens should be able to look to him,” Keys says. “But we can’t. Trump is leaving behind a legacy of destruction, carelessness, and narcissism. History will tell the truth about who he is, and what he’s done to the people of this nation.”

*Last name has been omitted for privacy.

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