Power Up: Just how sick is Trump? Washington eager for details amid conflicting messages from White House

Many questions about the president’s condition — and the administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak within its own orbit — remain unanswered as the White House offers contradictory information about the status of his health. 

The White House has thus far painted an incomplete picture of the situation that required Trump to be admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday. They gave notice that Trump has begun a steroid treatment usually reserved for patients with severe illness and that he’s suffered twice from bouts of low oxygen. Yet Trump and his medical team contend that he is doing well and could be discharged from Walter Reed as soon as Monday. 

Piling onto the confusion: Trump defied public health guidelines and briefly left the hospital to wave at his supporters from a motorcade parade to visit his supporters. Trump’s impromptu breach of quarantine, derided as cavalier by doctors and Secret Service, underscored open questions about the current health of the moderately obese 74 year-old who is being treated with a range of experimental therapeutics. 

An admission by White House doctor Sean Conley is fueling criticism of a lack of transparency: “Trump’s medical team tried to clear up the muddled picture it had created the previous day when White House doctor Sean Conley falsely suggested that Trump had not been given supplemental oxygen Conley openly admitted to withholding truthful information about Trump’s plummeting blood-oxygen levels Friday, indicating he did so to put a positive spin on the president’s improving condition,” Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey and Amy Goldstein report. 

  • The reasoning: “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness, has had,” Conley said Sunday. “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.”
  • Zooming out: “The episode continued what has been a days-long torrent of falsehoods, obfuscation, evasion, misdirection and imprecision from those surrounding Trump as he faces the greatest threat to a president’s health in decades.”

The confusion has penetrated the halls of the White House, too: Not even Trump administration staffers trust what they’re hearing about the state of Trump’s health, despite being potentially exposed to the virus as well. 

THE NEXT CLUE: Whether Trump is actually released today. 

  • “For a coronavirus patient admitted Friday to be sent home Monday ‘would be remarkably atypical,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told Toluse, Josh and Amy. “For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be okay to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity.” 
  • Many infectious-disease experts say the medical details release suggest a more severe case of covid-19 than his physicians acknowledged, per the New York Times’s Katie Thomas and Roni Caryn Rabin:
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Trump’s alternate reality of Covid-19 crumbles as the White House sends mixed messages about President’s health

Some seven months into a pandemic that has killed more than 209,000 Americans, the nation is now facing a grave governing crisis with its commander in chief hospitalized — his condition hinging on his progress over the coming days — as the White House events of the past week serve as a textbook example of how not to handle a deadly virus.



a man talking on a cell phone: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 02: U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Late Saturday night, the public learned new details about why President Donald Trump was airlifted to the hospital Friday, when chief of staff Mark Meadows said during an interview with Fox News that Trump had a fever on Friday morning and his oxygen level had “dropped rapidly.” Meadows added that Trump has made “unbelievable improvements from yesterday morning.”

A memo from Trump’s physician earlier Saturday night said that Trump had “made substantial progress” since his diagnosis but “is not yet out of the woods.”

Speaking from a White House that already has a huge credibility problem with the public, Meadows’ statement capped a 24-hour period that served as a master class in opacity and contradiction that raised major questions about the President’s health — and renewed questions about this administration’s ability to tell the truth.

Trump has been watching and critiquing coverage of his hospitalization from the presidential suite at Walter Reed and has been agitated at what he claims are exaggerated descriptions of his condition, people familiar with the matter said.

Those people told CNN that Trump seemed particularly upset when he saw a quote saying he was displaying “concerning” symptoms on Friday attributed to a person familiar with his health but later assigned by the New York Times and Associated Press to Meadows.

The comment about the President’s vitals hinted that his condition was more worrisome than his doctors let on. But the President’s aversion to appearing weak and sick is now what is driving the effort to project resolve, including a video he tweeted from Walter Reed on Saturday, the photos released by the White House of him working and the multiple accounts of phone calls where he sounded strong by his allies and family members.

For much of this year, Trump has spun an alternate reality about the dangers of coronavirus — disputing science and the efficacy of masks, downplaying the risks to the American people, and making false statements about how 99% of coronavirus cases in America are “totally harmless” or that the virus “affects virtually nobody.”

He encouraged his aides and advisers to live in that dangerous fantasy land, pushing his luck to the limits as late as this past week when he again recklessly gathered thousands of unmasked Americans at his political

Read more

Donald Trump’s alternate reality of Covid-19 crumbles as the White House sends mixed messages about President’s health

Some seven months into a pandemic that has killed more than 209,000 Americans, the nation is now facing a grave governing crisis with its commander in chief hospitalized — his condition hinging on his progress over the coming days — as the White House events of the past week serve as a textbook example of how not to handle a deadly virus.



a man talking on a cell phone: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 02: U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Late Saturday night, the public learned new details about why President Donald Trump was airlifted to the hospital Friday, when chief of staff Mark Meadows said during an interview with Fox News that Trump had a fever on Friday morning and his oxygen level had “dropped rapidly.” Meadows added that Trump has made “unbelievable improvements from yesterday morning.”

A memo from Trump’s physician earlier Saturday night said that Trump had “made substantial progress” since his diagnosis but “is not yet out of the woods.”

Speaking from a White House that already has a huge credibility problem with the public, Meadows’ statement capped a 24-hour period that served as a master class in opacity and contradiction that raised major questions about the President’s health — and renewed questions about this administration’s ability to tell the truth.

Trump has been watching and critiquing coverage of his hospitalization from the presidential suite at Walter Reed and has been agitated at what he claims are exaggerated descriptions of his condition, people familiar with the matter said.

Those people told CNN that Trump seemed particularly upset when he saw a quote saying he was displaying “concerning” symptoms on Friday attributed to a person familiar with his health but later assigned by the New York Times and Associated Press to Meadows.

The comment about the President’s vitals hinted that his condition was more worrisome than his doctors let on. But the President’s aversion to appearing weak and sick is now what is driving the effort to project resolve, including a video he tweeted from Walter Reed on Saturday, the photos released by the White House of him working and the multiple accounts of phone calls where he sounded strong by his allies and family members.

For much of this year, Trump has spun an alternate reality about the dangers of coronavirus — disputing science and the efficacy of masks, downplaying the risks to the American people, and making false statements about how 99% of coronavirus cases in America are “totally harmless” or that the virus “affects virtually nobody.”

He encouraged his aides and advisers to live in that dangerous fantasy land, pushing his luck to the limits as late as this past week when he again recklessly gathered thousands of unmasked Americans at his political

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Trump says ‘real test’ ahead in his COVID fight after mixed messages from White House

Video: Donald Trump’s doctor suggests president may have had coronavirus on Wednesday 30th (The Independent)

Donald Trump’s doctor suggests president may have had coronavirus on Wednesday 30th

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

By Alexandra Alper and Jeff Mason



a man standing on a boat: U.S. President Trump arrives to spend at least several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland


© Reuters/JOSHUA ROBERTS
U.S. President Trump arrives to spend at least several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump told Americans from his hospital room that the next few days will be the “real test” of his treatment for COVID-19, after a series of contradictory messages from the White House caused widespread confusion about his condition.

In a four-minute video posted on Twitter on Saturday from his hospital suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a tired-looking Trump said he was feeling “much better.”



a truck is parked on the side of a road: Trump supporters gather for a car parade


© Reuters/MEGAN JELINGER
Trump supporters gather for a car parade

“Over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test, so we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days,” Trump said into the camera, seated in front of an American flag and wearing a jacket and open-necked shirt.



Donald Trump sitting in a box: U.S. President Donald Trump, who is being treated for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a military hospital outside Washington, makes announcement via video


© Reuters/THE WHITE HOUSE
U.S. President Donald Trump, who is being treated for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a military hospital outside Washington, makes announcement via video

The remarks came hours after differing assessments of his health from administration officials left it unclear how ill the president had become since he tested positive for the new coronavirus on Thursday night, a matter of enormous public concern.

A White House team of doctors said on Saturday morning that Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House. One doctor said Trump told them, “I feel like I could walk out of here today.”



a person holding a sign: Supporters rally at a vigil for U.S. President Trump outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is being treated for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bethesda, Maryland


© Reuters/JONATHAN ERNST
Supporters rally at a vigil for U.S. President Trump outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is being treated for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bethesda, Maryland

Within minutes, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a less rosy assessment, telling them, “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”



Donald Trump holding a pair of people wearing costumes: Supporters hold vigil for U.S. President Trump outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump is being treated for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bethesda, Maryland


© Reuters/JONATHAN ERNST
Supporters hold vigil for U.S. President Trump outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump is being treated for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bethesda, Maryland

Meadows, whose initial comments were delivered on condition that he not be identified, altered his tone hours later, telling Reuters that Trump was doing “very well” and that “doctors are very pleased with his vital signs.”

Meadows did not clarify the discrepancy in his comments. A Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president was not happy to learn of Meadows’ initial remarks.

Administration officials have described the move to Walter Reed as precautionary and said Trump would stay for several days.

Another source who was

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After mixed messages from White House, Trump says ‘real test’ ahead in his COVID fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said from his hospital room on Saturday that he felt “much better” but the next few days will be “the real test” of his treatment for COVID-19, capping a day of contradictory messages from the White House about his condition.

In a four-minute video posted on Twitter, Trump, looking tired and wearing a jacket and open-necked shirt, said he “wasn’t feeling so well” when he first arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.

“Over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test, so we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days,” Trump said, seated at a round table in front of an American flag.

The remarks came hours after differing assessments of his health from administration officials left it unclear how ill the president had become since he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night, a matter of enormous public concern.

A White House team of doctors said on Saturday morning that Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House. One doctor said Trump told them, ‘I feel like I could walk out of here today.’

Within minutes, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a less rosy assessment, telling them, “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Meadows, whose initial comments were delivered on condition that he not be identified, altered his tone hours later, telling Reuters that Trump was doing “very well” and that “doctors are very pleased with his vital signs.”

Meadows did not clarify the discrepancy in his comments. A Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president was not happy to learn of Meadows’ initial remarks.

Administration officials have described the move to Walter Reed as precautionary and said Trump would stay at the hospital for several days.

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Another source who was briefed on Trump’s condition said the president was given supplemental oxygen before he went to the hospital. The decision to hospitalize Trump came after he had experienced difficulty breathing and his oxygen level dropped, according to a source familiar with the situation.

White House doctor Sean P. Conley told reporters outside the hospital on Saturday that Trump had not had trouble breathing, and was not given oxygen at Walter Reed.

“The team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” Conley said.

He declined to give a timetable for Trump’s possible release from the hospital, and later had to issue a statement saying he misspoke after appearing to suggest Trump had been diagnosed as early as Wednesday.

In a statement on Saturday evening, Conley said the president was “not yet out of the woods” but his team remained cautiously optimistic.

“Today’s spectacle – doctors saying one

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Doctors, White House staff offer conflicting messages on president’s health

The White House on Saturday sent conflicting signals about the president’s battle with the coronavirus, raising questions over the seriousness of his illness. 

Doctors Saturday afternoon offered a rosey assessment of Trump’s health less than 24 hours after he was checked into Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. 

But statements the Associated Press and other outlets later attributed to White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump campaign manager tests positive for COVID-19 The Memo: Trump grapples with credibility gap in crisis Overnight Healthcare: President Trump has coronavirus MORE and other sources gave a more alarming account of the president’s health. 

Adding to the confusion, the doctors themselves sent mixed messages over basic facts about the president’s treatment. 

Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus late Thursday night after top White House aide Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump campaign manager tests positive for COVID-19 Trump given Remdesivir as treatment for COVID-19 infection Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19 MORE tested positive for the disease. The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump given Remdesivir as treatment for COVID-19 infection Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19 Trump to Woodward in April: I’m ‘just not’ worried about contracting COVID-19 MORE announced early Friday morning that they tested positive for COVID-19. 

Friday afternoon, the president was taken via Marine One to Walter Reed “out of an abundance of caution” according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. The president was seen on camera walking out of the White House in a suit, blue tie and mask, where he waved to the press and boarded Maine One. 

At the time, White House physician Sean Conley released an update stating that the president was experiencing fatigue. 

But on Saturday, the White House staff and physicians began issuing mixed messages. 

At Saturday’s press conference outside Walter Reed, White House physician Sean Conley told reporters Trump was doing “very well.” 

“At this time the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” Conley said. “Thursday, he had a mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving.” 

“He’s in exceptionally good spirits,” Dr. Sean Dooley said following Conley, adding that Trump’s heart, kidney and liver seemed normal and that he was not experiencing any trouble breathing or walking around.

Moments after the press conference, however, a source familiar with the president’s health who was not initially on the record said that the president’s vitals over the past day had been “very concerning,” describing the next 48 hours as “critical in terms of his care.” 

“We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery,” the person, now reported as Meadows, said. The chief of staff was caught on camera outside Walter Reed talking to reporters and asking to go off the record to discuss the president’s health. 

These remarks from Meadows contrasted his statements Friday, when he said Trump was experiencing “mild symptoms” but was “very energetic.” 

Conley

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