But his seconds-long parade solely underscored the relaxed perspective towards transmission that seem to have landed Trump within the hospital to start with. The contained area contained in the presidential limousine hardly allowed for social distancing from the driving force and agent. While Trump wore a masks, his standing as a Covid-positive hospital affected person precluded him from falling inside anybody’s suggestions for a public look.
It was a hanging picture for a President who claims to now “understand” the virus after contracting it.
“I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school,” Trump mentioned in a video posted seconds earlier than he appeared outdoors Walter Reed, his voice sounding barely raspy however nonetheless enthusiastic. “This isn’t the let’s read the book school and I get it.”
Afterward, members of the Secret Service voiced escalating concern at what most of the company’s personnel have decided is whole disregard for his or her well-being amid a lethal and extremely contagious pandemic. Agents have examined constructive for the virus whereas touring for the President’s political rallies, which he insisted on sustaining even in opposition to federal well being tips. As staff self-quarantine or isolate in place, others have been compelled to work longer hours to fill the void.
It’s a state of affairs that has prompted rising and extra vocal concern.
“That should never have happened,” one present Secret Service agent who works on the presidential and first household element mentioned after Trump’s drive-by, including that these brokers who went alongside for the experience would now be required to quarantine.
“I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around them,” the agent mentioned, expressing a view that a number of folks on the Secret Service additionally voiced within the wake of Sunday’s look. “The frustration with how we’re treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this though. We’re not disposable.”
Another veteran Secret Service agent additionally expressed deep dismay on the Walter Reed experience, although was sympathetic for these across the President given the issue in pushing again on the commander-in-chief.
“You can’t say no,” the agent mentioned.
While brokers within the Secret Service have the facility to say no to actions that would put a president in peril, they can not say no in conditions that would put themselves in peril.
A 3rd agent informed CNN: “It was simply reckless.” But one other sought to downplay the priority.
“I’ve watched some of the news today and it’s ridiculous to say the President is trying to kill off his detail,” mentioned one other present agent on Sunday. “He’s unconventional, but we get the job done.”
In a press release, the White House insisted measures have been taken to guard others within the automobile with Trump.
“Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including (personal protective equipment). The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere mentioned.
Medical consultants and physicians mentioned the episode appeared something however protected.
“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” Dr. James P. Phillips, who’s affiliated with Walter Reed, tweeted. “The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”
Dr. Leana Wen, an ER doctor and CNN medical analyst, tweeted that if Trump have been her affected person, “in unstable condition + contagious illness, & he suddenly left the hospital to go for a car ride that endangers himself & others: I’d call security to restrain him then perform a psychiatric evaluation to examine his decision-making capacity.”
A weekend within the hospital
By Sunday afternoon, the group of supporters gathered outdoors of the doorway to Walter Reed had grown to a number of dozen from only a handful of supporters when Trump first arrived on Friday night.
Inside, Trump was alerted to the group by members of his workforce, and noticed footage of the gathering on tv units hung within the suite of rooms the place he’s being handled.
Since arriving to the hospital, Trump has spent hours consuming tv footage of his well being state of affairs — not an altogether completely different routine from how he spends his days on the White House, though now his routine is interrupted by fixed monitoring from medical doctors, doses of therapeutics administered by means of an IV and, based on his doctor Dr. Sean Conley, the “ups and downs” of coronavirus that have included worrying dips in his blood oxygen degree.
Still, the President has made an try to hold on, significantly by means of his in depth telephone calls with relations and allies.
“He’s functioning the same way he functions in the White House or the same way he functions 24 hours a day,” his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani mentioned on Fox News.
Throughout the weekend, Trump pushed to make some kind of public look demonstrating his continued well being, although he met some resistance from his medical workforce, based on an individual acquainted with the matter.
His drive to be seen elevated on Saturday afternoon and Sunday as he grew pissed off by what he deemed overly fatalistic protection of his situation. He was livid when a quote emerged from an individual acquainted with his well being — later attributed to Meadows — suggesting his very important indicators have been “concerning” on Friday.
Instead of rising in public on Saturday, Trump taped a four-minute video thanking his supporters and sat for a set of pictures at a spherical wood desk and in a convention room showing to overview paperwork. The White House launched one other set of pictures on Sunday, this time depicting the President sitting at his wood-paneled convention room whereas talking by telephone with Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
In each the video and the pictures, Trump wasn’t sporting a masks; it wasn’t clear what steps have been taken to guard the photographers who captured the pictures.
Unlike the White House, the place Trump is surrounded by a large community of aides, he’s being staffed by solely a minimal variety of advisers at Walter Reed. Meadows spent the night time on the hospital on Friday and Saturday. He was joined extra lately by Scavino, who wrote on Twitter that after a sequence of adverse exams he deliberate to work from the hospital till Trump returned to the White House.
Scavino posted a set of pictures that gave the impression to be taken from contained in the President’s motorcade on Sunday as they progressed previous the group of supporters, who waved Trump flags and shouted down opponents of the President at completely different factors within the day. Dozens extra supporters drove by of their vehicles, waving American flags and producing a cacophony of assist for the convalescing President as they loudly honked horns in assist.
Around 5:15 p.m. ET, cops started to dam off the busy intersection in entrance of Walter Reed the place supporters have been huddled on the sidewalk. Minutes later, the presidential motorcade started rolling northward on Rockville Pike, slowing to a crawl so the President might present his face.
Trump waved and pumped his fist as supporters cheered loudly — most of them not sporting masks.
Circling again on the opposite aspect of the highway, as Trump drove previous extra supporters and tents full of cameras and tv reporters, he flashed a thumbs up.
Minutes later, he was gone. The White House alerted reporters he was again in his Walter Reed suite.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Kate Bennett, Jamie Gangel, Josh Campbell and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.