In case that point was somehow lost on observers, campaign aides like Jason Miller made it more explicitly.
The tacit message of the tweet: Even the virus can’t keep this guy down.
But Miller’s presentation of what’s shown is obviously questionable. For one thing, while he boasts that Trump didn’t need a teleprompter, the president can be seen looking down at the sheet of paper in front of him, almost certainly to consult notes about what he plans to say.
This is not a big deal, of course, and, technically, it doesn’t conflict with Miller’s representation that no teleprompter was used. But that Miller pointedly uses this as a point of contrast with former vice president Joe Biden, Trump’s opponent in the upcoming election, is ironic. After all, Trump’s campaign has repeatedly criticized Biden’s use of written notes or alleged that he was referring to notes as he gave public comments. (Here’s an example from a Biden television appearance and one centered on his invitation to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to join his ticket.)
Then there is Miller’s claim that this was “one take” — meaning that it is presented as Trump offered it, without editing. Shortly after the video was published, a number of professional video editors noted that this probably wasn’t true; that, after Trump mentions the use of therapeutics, he appears to begin to cough — but not complete the cough.
You can see it in the animation here. About halfway through, his shoulders hunch. You’ll also notice that when the animation loops, the position of the cabinets behind him shifts, despite this apparently being shot from a mounted camera. In other words, the camera was probably moved.
Those shifts are evidence to experts of the use of Adobe Premiere’s “fluid morph” tool, a nifty bit of software that allows video producers to hide cuts. There are a number of examples on YouTube of the tool at work, such as this one. If you watch that video, you will notice that the effect is most noticeable in the background, where the position of elements (particularly at upper left) suddenly changes.
This video wasn’t released simply as a matter of course. It followed reports earlier in the day that Trump had been in more dire condition on Friday than the White House at first let on. The New York Times reports that the revelation that Trump had been more ill than was originally suggested “infuriated” the president, prompting him to first encourage his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani to pass a message about his vitality to the New York Post and, later, to make a similar point publicly himself.
In other words, Trump himself wanted to show the world how healthy he was, something that wouldn’t be aided by an on-camera cough. (His doctors have publicly acknowledged that Trump has been experiencing a cough, a common symptom of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.)
Trump’s team also released photos of him apparently working from the presidential facility at