Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele referred to President TrumpDonald John TrumpState Department revokes visa of Giuliani-linked Ukrainian ally: report White House Gift Shop selling ‘Trump Defeats COVID’ commemorative coin Biden says he should not have called Trump a clown in first debate MORE as a “superspreader” on Tuesday as a growing number of White House officials test positive for the coronavirus.
Steele knocked Trump after footage emerged online showing the president taking off his mask after returning to the White House on Monday, despite his positive COVID-19 diagnosis several days earlier. Trump spent the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center getting treatment for the disease.
At the time, Trump appeared to be posing for photos on a balcony at the White House. Not long after, the president could be seen leaving to enter the building without his mask on.
“He takes his mask off in contravention of everything we know. He is the superspreader. He is the problem in the White House, and everyone wants to tiptoe around it,” Steele said on MSNBC, where he serves as a political analyst.
“People are getting sick. We don’t know how and to what degree they will be sick over the next few weeks, and yet he’s standing there, thumbs up, like, you know, ‘I got a cold’ and ‘I got the sniffles,’” he said.
Trump drew widespread criticism on Monday after urging Americans not to “be afraid” of the disease, which has infected more than 7 million people in the country and has been linked to more than 210,000 deaths.
“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently,” the president said in a video, in which he did not wear a mask.
“Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen,” Trump went on, adding that he felt “better than 20 years ago.”
During Trump’s time being hospitalized over the weekend, White House physician Sean Conley said the president was administered supplemental oxygen on Friday. At the time, Conley said Trump had developed a high fever and that his oxygen saturation had “transiently” dipped below 94 percent.
White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Defense: Trump says he’s leaving Walter Reed, ‘feeling really good’ after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches Trump’s physician declines to provide key information on his health Trump says he’s leaving Walter Reed Monday evening MORE also said at one point that the president’s blood oxygen level “dropped rapidly” on Friday before he began showing signs of improvement later during the weekend.
The president’s COVID-19 diagnosis comes as several White House aides and officials have tested positive for the disease over the past week.