Donald Trump, still sick and highly contagious after being diagnosed with the coronavirus just last week, marked his return to the White House on Monday by promptly taking off his mask. The president has gleefully sneered in the face of health professionals and levied skepticism regarding the spread of the virus before and now after contracting it himself.
Not to be outdone, while recovering this weekend, the former business mogul vacated his hospital bed for a grandstanding photo opportunity, and now faces scrutiny for putting himself and his staff in danger.
While hospitalized at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, a Washington suburb, Trump greeted dozens who gathered outside the facility in his support on Sunday afternoon. With a media throng on hand to witness the display, Trump entered a Black SUV while donning a mask while the motorcade traveled along the typically busy Route 355 corridor.
A pair of Secret Service agents flanked Trump dressed in personal protective gear, including respirator masks and eye coverings to boot. What made the moment especially alarming for some observers is reports that Trump just completed a round of remdesivir treatment, which was administered intravenously along with frequent observation of his overall health and corresponding numbers.
By way of a CNN report, this was a calculated show of strength from Trump as he and his wife are both combating the virus, adding to a growing tally of Republican Party members and high-profile Trump acolytes who also have contracted coronavirus.
Typically, the coronavirus and symptoms related to COVID-19 have rendered relatively healthy people without previously known health conditions immobile, while others have recovered with just mild flu-like symptoms at best. However, in CNN’s report, the president’s desire to prove to his adoring public that he is healthy and of sound mind was frowned upon by members of his Secret Service detail.
An unnamed agent who was on hand on the grounds of the facility and did not ride inside the SUV stated explicitly to CNN that the motorcade event “should never have happened,” adding, “I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around them.”
Another agent, also keeping their identity hidden, stated that members of the presidential and First Family detail cannot refuse to put themselves in harm’s way in the protection of Trump and his immediate family. While it appears the consensus was frustration and concern over the act, one agent proudly stated they’re committed to the job and doesn’t believe Trump is a potential risk to the security detail’s health.
All of this came ahead of a two-hour Twitter tirade early Monday, with Trump using his proffered all-caps method of hammering his talking points home.
“IF YOU WANT A MASSIVE TAX INCREASE, THE BIGGEST IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY (AND ONE THAT WILL SHUT OUR ECONOMY AND JOBS DOWN), VOTE DEMOCRAT,” read one of Trump’s impassioned missives.
Trump returned to Twitter hours later, informing his supporters and detractors alike that he’s been cleared to leave the medical facility at 6:30 PM local time, with a recent New York Times report highlighting that he wanted to return to the White House on Sunday but the motorcade was a convenient middle ground.
“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago,” Trump exclaimed.
Trump announced early Friday morning that and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus. Since then, multiple White House staffers and senators have contracted it, as well.