Herman Cain — a former Republican presidential candidate, Trump surrogate and businessman — died Thursday morning after a month-long battle with the coronavirus. He was 74.
In a detailed statement about his battle with the virus, Dan Calabrese, an editor of Cain’s website, reported that Cain had struggled “trouble breathing” and had been taken to the hospital by ambulance about a month ago. According to an update on his personal Twitter account on Monday, Cain’s lungs were being treated and he was put on oxygen.
“Re-strengthening the lungs is a long and slow process, and the doctors want to be thorough about it,” a tweet said.
As a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, Cain was one of the surrogates at President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — where at least eight members of Trump’s campaign staff later tested positive for coronavirus. Cain was seen at the rally without a mask.
Later on Thursday afternoon, President Trump tweeted his condolences to Cain’s family, calling him a powerful voice on “all that is good.”
…the phone with his amazing wife Gloria, daughter, Melanie, and son Vincent to express my deepest condolences to the entire family. @FLOTUS Melania and I loved Herman Cain, a great man. Herman, Rest In Peace! pic.twitter.com/GNUf5jHjX0
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
Ellen Carmichael, a GOP strategist who worked for Cain, said on Twitter that she was saddened by the news and bracing for “the cruelty online” from opponents of Cain’s conservative politics after the business executive’s 2012 presidential run.
I’m very saddened to learn of the passing of my former boss, Herman Cain. I’m bracing for the cruelty online about how he deserved to get COVID and die because of his politics. We’re living in a dark time. But, they didn’t know him. I did.
— Ellen Carmichael (@ellencarmichael) July 30, 2020
Cain, fueled by the Tea Party, was for a time a frontrunner in the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination. He advocated for a sweeping tax reform plan that he called “9-9-9” which would have replaced almost all current taxes with a 9% income tax, a 9% corporate tax and a 9% national sales tax. He retracted his bid for the Republican nomination following sexual harassment allegations, which he denied.
Just five days before hie died, Cain’s doctors had said they anticipated he would make a slow but eventual recovery that never came. Before he was diagnosed, Cain had been making preparations for a weekly television show on Newsmax TV.