Americans awoke Friday to the news that President Donald Trump and Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. By day's end, the president had been taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
It was reassuring to see Trump, while wearing a mask, give a thumbs-up to reporters while walking to the Marine One helicopter. That came just hours after news broke that he had been treated with an experimental drug.
The rush of events no doubt left many Americans feeling a confusing mix of emotions.
Many will be tempted to see the news in light of their own political orientation. Some may question their own bedrock beliefs about the role of faith and science. Others will think about the stock market.
Despite the timing just weeks before the election, this is not a time for political calculation, as hard as it may be to avoid.
We urge everyone to put such thoughts aside. A president's illness is a shock to the country. The proper response, for now, is respectful concern. Those who believe in God should say a prayer, for the health of the first couple and for the stability of the country.
The Trump administration can reassure Americans by being transparent about the president's condition and the continuity of our government in the days ahead. On that score, the administration did a poor job Friday, leaving reporters to try to fill in too many critical blanks. Americans need to hear more from White House doctors and senior administration officials sooner rather than later.
The lingering questions are many and obvious: Why was the president taken to Walter Reed? Was it safe to treat him with a drug still in a clinical trial? Can the election continue on schedule? Will the president need to relinquish power temporarily? Will America's enemies try to take advantage?
As the nation waits for answers, we urge solemn respect: for the Trumps, for our country, for the world.