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Trump greets supporters
Image: Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

Trump briefly leaves hospital to greet supporters

October 5, 2020

Doctors treating Donald Trump have postponed a decision on whether to discharge him from hospital as he recovers from coronavirus. Trump posted an optimistic message following conflicting reports on his health.


US President Donald Trump briefly left the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to greet his supporters outside, waving at them from his presidential motorcade on Sunday.

Trump previously posted a video saying there have been "great reports" from the doctors before thanking them. He added that he met soldiers and first responders at the hospital, and pledged to pay a "little surprise visit" to supporters outside the medical center.

He also said he learned a lot about COVID-19. "This is the real school, this isn't the 'let's read a book' school," said Trump during the video.

Press secretary also tests positive

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that she too had tested positive for the coronavirus, joining a growing list of Republicans who have contracted the highly-infectious virus.

"After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,"  McEnany said in a statement she posted on Twitter.

"No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close 


Some medical experts criticized Trump's public appearance outside the hospital. James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University called the motorcade "political theater" and "insanity."

"Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential 'drive-by' just now has to be quarantined for 14 days," said Phillips. "They may get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity."

Uwe Janssens, president of the German Interdisciplinary Association of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, has also joined the chorus of disapproval at Trump's actions. He told DW that the president's decision to leave the hospital was "irresponsible."

"He should at least be quarantined for 14 days. And this means that he should stay low, that any contact should be very closely measured to prevent infection. I think seeing him in the in a car driving through the streets, it is quite irresponsible."

"Trump is responsible for his own behavior… President Trump has his own autonomy and he acts politically and not responsibly regarding his health and the health of others."

Earlier on Sunday, White House physician Dr. Sean Colney said Trump's condition "has continued to improve," but he had suffered from serious symptoms on Friday. The press conference was seen as an attempt to clear up contradictory statements and questions about the seriousness of the president's health.

Conley acknowledged the confusion during a press conference Sunday outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump is being treated for COVID-19.

Conley said the president had a "high fever" and a blood oxygen level below 94% on Friday before he was hospitalized. Trump received supplemental oxygen for about an hour at the White House.

Trump 'fever-free'

Doctors said Trump will be treated for five days with the steroid dexamethasone to help with lung function after his oxygen level dropped on Friday and Saturday.

"The president has continued to improve,'' said Conley, adding that Trump has been "fever-free" for 24 hours. 

Dr. Conley
The White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Trump could soon be released from hospitalImage: Erin Scott/Reuters

Trump could return to the White House on Monday if his condition continues to be stable, doctors said. On Monday morning they postponed a decision to later in the day on whether he could be discharged.

Dr. Sean Dooley, another member of Trump's medical team, said the president was in "exceptionally good spirits" Sunday, was not on oxygen assistance, not having difficulty breathing and was walking around the hospital.

Dooley quoted Trump as saying, "I feel like I could walk out of here today."

The New Jersey Department of Health tweeted that the White House gave New Jersey officials at least 206 names of people who attended events surrounding Trump's Thursday fundraising trip to Bedminster. The event occurred just hours before he tested positive for the virus.

Next days 'critical'

Trump released a video from his hospital suite Saturday, offering his own assessment of his condition.

"Over the next period of a few days, I guess that's the real test, so we'll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days," Trump said in the video.

Conley said Sunday that days seven through 10 are "critical for determining the likely course of this illness," emphasizing that they were "happy" with Trump's progress 72 hours into his diagnosis.

Read moreWhat is the experimental drug that Trump is being treated with?

Information withheld?

During his remarks Sunday, Conley tried to explain why there had been conflicting information about Trump’s condition released Saturday, and why he declined to disclose that Trump had been placed on oxygen assistance Friday.

Conley acknowledged he had tried to "reflect the upbeat attitude'' of the president and his medical team.

"I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction," Conley said. "And in doing so …  it came off like we are trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true."

Read moreOpinion: Reality rears its head in Donald Trump's coronavirus infection

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, expressed concern Sunday that the public is not receiving trustworthy information on Trump’s condition.

"We need to have trust that what they're telling us about the president's condition is  real," Pelosi told CBS' "Face the Nation."

Pelosi added that she is worried that information being shared with the public by Trump's medical team is subject to the president’s approval.

"That's not very scientific," Pelosi said.

jsi, ed,wmr,kbd/dj (AP, Reuters)

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