Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. earlier this year, many have called out President Donald Trump for his handling of the outbreak. But few have done so with as much heart as fitness trainer Amanda Kloots, whose husband, Broadway actor Nick Cordero, died in July after a months-long battle with the novel coronavirus.
When Kloots, known for creating cult-favorite jump rope workouts, saw a tweet from Trump earlier this week urging people to not “be afraid” of COVID-19, she was in shock. She decided she had to respond, and filmed a video in which she criticized the president, who’d also said that Americans shouldn’t let the pandemic “dominate” their lives. In the clip, which was posted to her Instagram stories, Kloots made it clear that Trump’s tweet was both disheartening and disrespectful to the 212,000 families in the US who’ve lost loved ones due to the novel coronavirus.
Kloots’s message was powerful, but on Wednesday night, in another Instagram story, she opened up a bit about the backlash she’d received. People messaged her asking her why she’d gotten “so political,” Kloots shared. In the story, she explained she felt it was her duty to stand up to the president, for the sake of her son.
Amanda Kloots’ husband died of Covid at age 41.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) October 6, 2020
“[Getting political] is the last thing that I wanted to do,” she noted. “But when I see the leader of our country say what he said, it’s hard not to. [What he said] affected me. And if I don’t speak up, I’m a coward… That’s the last thing I want my little son to think of his mom.”
She continued, saying: “I will never see my husband again because of this virus. And for the leader of our country, who had this virus, to get out of the hospital and say what he said to the American people — to me — is wrong. And it has nothing to do with being a Republican or Democrat. Nothing. It has to do with being a decent human being. It has to do with saying the right thing. It has to do with supporting the people that you lead.”
Trump, 74, tested positive for COVID-19 late last week. Not long after, the president went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for “precautionary” reasons. By Monday, he announced he’d be leaving the hospital to go back to the White House after being treated with steroids and supplemental oxygen. Amid conflicting reports about his health, he tweeted: “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
“’Let it dominate your life?” Kloots responded in an Instagram story at the time, tears in her eyes. “No one’s letting it. Nick didn’t ‘let it’ dominate his life. It wasn’t a choice. And it dominated his life, my life, our families’ lives for 95 days and, because he didn’t make it, it will forever affect my life.” The U.S. has seen more than 7.5 million infections, and that number is still climbing — albeit more slowly than it was earlier this year, The New York Times reports. All this is to say, coronavirus maps and studies don’t exactly paint the rosy picture Trump depicted in his tweets. And Kloots has seen the devastation the virus can cause firsthand.
“To the [212,000] families that lost a loved one to this disease, you know how terrifying it can be. Not everyone is lucky enough to walk out of the hospital after two days. We saw what this disease can do, so, guess what? We are afraid,” she said in her Instagram story on Monday.
“Have some empathy,” she said to the president in the video. “Why are you bragging? Instead of bragging about how wonderful you did, why don’t you say: ‘Wow, now that I’ve had this disease I now can understand a little bit better about how it could have affected our country and these people… What can I do now that I have that knowledge?’”
To all the over 208,000 Americans who lost loved ones to this virus – I stand by you, with you, holding your hand. Unfortunately it did dominate our lives didn’t it? It dominated Nick’s family’s lives and my family’s lives. I guess we “let it” – like it was our choice?? Unfortunately not everyone is lucky enough to spend two days in the hospital. I cried next to my husband for 95 days watching what COVID did to the person I love. It IS something to be afraid of. After you see the person you love the most die from this disease you would never say what this tweet says. There is no empathy to all the lives lost. He is bragging instead. It is sad. It is hurtful. It is disgraceful.
A post shared by AK! ⭐️ (@amandakloots) on Oct 5, 2020 at 9:07pm PDT
On Tuesday evening, Kloots led an event in conjunction with Women’s Health and Athleta. “What has happened to me this past year, this past six or seven months, has been hard,” she said during the virtual event. “It’s obviously a day-to-day struggle. It’s something I’m constantly trying to work through… It’s always a test to stay strong and stay focused and to find the little things that make you happy. And [it’s important] to not judge people for how they’re living their life and getting through things.”
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