White House physician Sean Conley draws scrutiny for rosy assessments of Trump’s health

Without sharing details, the White House’s top medical officer said the pressures of the job were weighing on him, according to two people familiar with his remarks.

Conley now finds himself at the epicenter of the most acute crisis to confront a White House physician in decades: President Trump’s hospitalization after contracting a lethal virus whose risks the president has repeatedly minimized.

Conley’s handling of the situation has come under intense criticism after he gave a rosy pronouncement of Trump’s status Saturday without disclosing that the president had been given supplemental oxygen or put on a steroid reserved for severely ill coronavirus patients.

The White House physician finally disclosed those details Sunday, acknowledging that Trump’s oxygen level had dropped at one point. He said that he had not shared the information initially because he did not want to cause alarm.

“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, over his course of illness, has had,” Conley said. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. . . . The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.”

But long before the president contracted a virus especially lethal to older people, some of Conley’s former colleagues said they were disappointed in what they view as his lack of independence from White House politics.

“Every statement he is giving appears to be political, dictated by the White House or the president,” said one person who has worked with him, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the White House. “These are not the statements a medical doctor gives.”

Conley did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, “The fact that this publication has chosen to write a hit piece on the President’s physician, who is an officer in the U.S. Navy, at this critical time is outright disgusting and irresponsible.”

Deere added that Conley is an eminently qualified and “talented physician with a wealth of experience well-suited to serve President Trump and ensure he fully recovers from COVID-19 and remains very healthy to continue his work on behalf of the American people,” he added.

Questions about Conley began bubbling this spring when he treated Trump with hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial treatment touted by the president as a wonder drug, even as some studies showed it could increase the risk for some patients. In a May 18 memo, Conley said he concluded that “the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”

The White House has also repeatedly cited Conley in statements asserting that the administration was properly mitigating the risks of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, despite the fact that the president and his aides have eschewed masks and held public gatherings. In March, after a

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Early’s Farm and Garden issues apology after post about Orange Shirt Day draws ire

A Saskatoon business is apologizing and will be providing its employees with sensitivity training after remarks made by its owner and his daughter criticizing Orange Shirt Day online were deemed insensitive and offensive. 

Andi Early, whose father Spencer Early is president of Early’s Farm and Garden in Saskatoon, criticized Orange Shirt Day in a Facebook post earlier this week. In the post, Early wrote about “Identity politics” entering into the classrooms of young children, citing Orange Shirt Day as an example.

“Children should not be political instruments and we completely disagree that orange shirt day has unanimously imposed on everyone,” she said in the post, which included a picture of an orange shirt, with the phrase “not for kids” written on top.  “The more we focus on the historical inequalities the more it will foster current inequalities. We don’t participate.”

Orange Shirt Day is an annual event designed to honour residential school survivors and their families, and to raise awareness about the the injustices and mistreatment Indigenous people suffered while they attended.

The day itself was inspired by the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who had a new orange shirt taken from her by residential school staff as a six-year-old girl, according to the Orange Shirt Day website.

Andi does not hold any position at Early’s Farm and Garden. However, in a response to the post, Spencer wrote, “What about the Jews, Irish, Ukrainian, Japanese, Chinese…etc,etc. Don’t ‘cherry pick’ the list. Discuss it all collectively as the human experience or not at all.”

Reaction was swift, with hundreds of comments expressing frustration and anger, and many people saying they’ll take their business elsewhere.

The business apologized for the post following the outcry, then later issued a second apology from Spencer Early from its Facebook page.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Spencer said he’s sorry for any pain the post and his response caused. 

He said upon reflection, he understands why it spurred such a strong reaction. 

“At the time, it was meant to be inclusive,” he said. “It was saying I’d like the education to be inclusive of all of these things that have happened to individuals and groups, and that was the intention of it, but it certainly didn’t work that way.” 

Early said the store will be closing early on Wednesday and that Cort Dogniez, a First Nation and Métis education consultant, will be speaking to staff about Canada’s residential school system. 

He said the opinion shared by her daughter and the remark he had made do not reflect the overall beliefs of Early’s Farm and Garden.

“Today is a day to listen,” he said in the apology.

He says the store has a good relationship with Indigenous people, including those who frequent the store from the Dakota Whitecap First Nation.

“We value them in the community. We value them as customers and if there was an interpretation of remarks that wasn’t what it was intended to be, we apologize for that, and we’ll be reaching out into

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