Amanda Kloots, a fitness influencer and Broadway performer whose 41-year-old husband died of COVID-19 in July, responded to President Donald Trump's recent tweet urging Americans not to fear the disease with a powerful message for other families whose loved ones have died.
Kloots's husband, Broadway actor Nick Cordero, died of COVID-19 complications after a 95-day hospitalization, during which his leg was amputated. Kloots documented her husband's experience on her Instagram account, becoming one of the most prominent faces of the impact of the disease on American families.
Since Cordero's death, Kloots has continued to share with her more than half a million Instagram followers how she and her young son, Elvis, are coping with being just one of the families irreparably changed by the virus, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans.
On Monday night, Trump tweeted about his experience with the virus after leaving Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland. He told Americans that they should not "be afraid of Covid."
"Don’t let it dominate your life," he wrote.
For Kloots, the president's message hit home. She decided to post about it on Instagram, where for the most part she has not mentioned politics in discussing the disease.
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.
Kloots expanded on her message in a series of Instagram stories, saying she is "not a very political person," but Trump's message was "hard to ignore." She continued to speak to other family members of victims, saying, "We are afraid. I still am."
"Have some empathy," she said, addressing Trump. "Why are you bragging?"
Kloots's sister, Anna, who is also an influencer and writer, also posted about Trump's message, writing, "COVID took the life of my perfectly healthy brother-in-law in 3 months and I WATCHED IT HAPPEN. I stood in the hospital next to my sister and SAW what it did to him."
Many people shared Kloots's message on social media, saying she spoke for all families affected by this disease.
"I’m so sorry our president is a selfish bastard with no empathy for anyone hurting," one person wrote. "Vote. Vote in honor of Nick Cordero."