White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House Correspondents’ Association: ‘Outrageous’ for Trump to leave hospital without informing pool Trump sought to keep COVID-19 diagnosis secret Thursday as he awaited second test result: WSJ Photo of Mark Meadows rubbing his head during update on Trump’s health goes viral MORE on Monday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE is ready to return to a “normal work schedule” as he deals with COVID-19 and that a decision is expected later in the day on whether the president can return to the White House from a nearby hospital.
“That determination has not been made yet. Obviously, he continued to improve overnight and his health continues to improve,” Meadows said during a call to “Fox & Friends” from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“The doctors will actually have an evaluation sometime late morning and then the president, in consultation with the doctors, will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today,” Meadows added. “We’re still optimistic that based on his unbelievable progress and how strong he’s been in terms of his fight against this COVID-19 disease that he will be released, but that decision will not be made until later today.”
The comments echo those of the White House physician a day earlier, who told reporters on Sunday that Trump could return to the White House as early as Monday.
The president’s oxygen level dropped on Friday and Saturday, however, and he was given dexamethasone, a steroid typically used to treat severe cases of COVID-19, calling into question how serious Trump’s health problems are. Experts have noted that symptoms can flare up days after a person has contracted the virus and questioned the possibility Trump could leave the hospital in Bethesda, Md., so quickly.
“Obviously, this is an important day,” Meadows said on Monday. “The president continues to improve and is ready to get back to a normal work schedule.”
Trump was taken to Walter Reed on Friday evening, roughly 18 hours after he first disclosed to the public that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. The president was given supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday.
The White House has given conflicting messages about Trump’s state, eroding its credibility as the president deals with the virus. White House physician Sean Conley said Saturday the president was doing very well, but Meadows quickly contradicted him by acknowledging that Trump’s vitals were concerning on Friday and that he was not yet out of the woods.
National security adviser Robert O’BrienRobert O’BrienNational security adviser says Trump will stay a Walter Reed for ‘another period of time’ Trump aide Hope Hicks tests positive for COVID-19 CIA letting less intelligence on Russia reach Trump: report MORE, who had COVID-19 over the summer, said on Sunday that he expected Trump to work from Walter Reed for “at least another period of time.”
But the president has attempted to project that he is recovering quickly. He posted videos from Walter Reed each of the last two days and on Sunday left his hospital suite to wave to supporters from inside his motorcade.
That decision drew outrage among medical experts and some Democrats, who questioned why Trump would break quarantine and potentially infect Secret Service agents for a photo op.
Meadows defended the decision on Monday, saying proper precautions were taken and that the Secret Service agents in the vehicle with Trump have been around the president throughout the weekend.