Actor Dominic West is coming under fire for saying he jumped for joy after learning that President Donald Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.
Trump took to Twitter in the early morning hours on Friday to announce that both he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. Top White House figure Hope Hicks had contracted the virus earlier in the week, and a number of top officials and Republican figures have been in contact with Trump and face potential exposure as well.
While the announcement has prompted messages of sympathy from world leaders and many prominent figures in the United States, it has also led to some critical messages from those who believe the president did not take proper precautions to keep those around him safe. Some even appeared to express glee at the news.
As the Independent reported, West was among those with a more negative view of the COVID-19 test news, saying during a Good Morning Britain appearance that he believed it was karma for Trump’s failure to take the pandemic seriously and that he celebrated after hearing it.
“Well, I did slightly leap in the air with joy,” West said. “I think the phrase is ‘what goes around comes around.'”
“I just hope it doesn’t interfere with him being elected out of office, that’s all.”
Good Morning Britain host Kate Garraway appeared to give the actor the chance to clarify, saying that she was sure he wished the president the best personally. She brought up the idea of karma, seemingly referring to Trump downplaying the severity of the virus and failing to follow coronavirus guidelines at times during campaign stops and presidential visits.
But West responded by saying that he was taking joy in the situation and wishing that the Democratic candidate can stay safe and healthy.
“There’s an element of schadenfreude, I suppose,” The Wire actor replied. “I’m not a fan of his, as you can probably tell, and I just hope Biden stays healthy and gets the presidency as quickly as possible.”
The statement led to plenty of criticism, with many taking to social media to ask West for an apology. As The Sun reported, some called out the comments and tagged Prince’s Trust, a United Kingdom charity founded by Prince Charles that helps at-risk youth stay on track. West is a patron of the charity, and some angry users believed that his gloating over Trump’s coronavirus test reflected poorly on the effort.