Trump mounts bizarre and misleading White House return despite warnings

A strongly medicated President Donald Trump bolted from his VIP hospital bubble Monday, staging a bizarre White House comeback that included an irresponsible mask removal and a reckless pronouncement there is nothing to fear from Covid-19, which has already killed 210,000 Americans.



a man wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


© Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

His actions show him, if anything, entrenched deeper in denial over the virus than ever before and more committed to trashing scientific protocols that could slow the pandemic.

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“We’re going back. We’re going back to work. We’re gonna be out front. As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it but I had to do it,” Trump says in a strange campaign video whipped up by aides within an hour of his return to the White House, in which the President framed himself as a warrior who took on the virus and won.

“I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger,” Trump said, despite his doctors earlier saying he is still not fully “out of the woods” in his fight with the virus.

A still infectious Trump ignored advisers who wanted him to stay admitted and instead rode Marine One from Walter Reed Military National Military Medical Center back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Profound questions remain about the state of the President’s health after he tested positive for the disease last week and suffered two dips in oxygen levels. A torrent of misinformation surrounds his condition, including when he actually got sick. That health information is crucial to establishing whether the President went ahead with official duties while potentially infectious with Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the virus continues to rip through the White House, which has become a hotspot amid flagrant violations of social distancing.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said she was positive — “after testing negatively” — in a possible attempt to excuse her failure to wear a mask when briefing reporters Sunday. Two of her staffers have also tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump choreographed his departure from the hospital, which coincided with network evening news bulletins, emerging from the front door and clenching his fist. His flight home turned into a personal victory lap against a virus that is still in his system, showing how he intends to try to pivot the events of the last few days into a political winner.

Back at the White House in imagery replete with authoritarian overtones, Trump climbed the staircase at the South Portico, which was decorated with American flags, removed his mask, adjusted his suit, lifted his chin and saluted the departing helicopter in a reckless photo op that was one of the most

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Trump White House promotes misleading expectations for election night results

While election officials across the country try to prepare Americans for the chance of a prolonged vote-counting process this year, President Donald Trump and his allies have drawn a line in the sand and say they want to see a winner declared on election night.



a screen shot of a woman: White House sress secretary Kayleigh McEnany addresses the Republican National Convention on August 26, 2020.


© NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
White House sress secretary Kayleigh McEnany addresses the Republican National Convention on August 26, 2020.

As a result, Trump and his allies are setting unrealistic expectations, and undermining warnings from bipartisan state and local election officials and experts that a slower vote-count doesn’t always indicate a problem.

Relying on an inaccurate and misleading interpretation of how US elections are conducted, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said last Wednesday that the Trump administration wants to see a presidential winner projected on election night this November.

“What we want election night to look like is a system that’s fair, a situation where we know who the President of the United States is on election night. That’s how the system is supposed to work. And that’s ultimately what we’re looking for and what we’re hoping for,” McEnany said in a Fox News interview, where she criticized Democrats for expanding access to mail-in voting.

Facts First: McEnany is completely wrong when she says “the system is supposed to” produce a clear winner on election night. That’s a modern tradition in US politics, and it’s what many expect when watching the results. But it’s not required by law and it’s not what the system is designed to do.

In recent months, Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election, refused to say if he’ll accept the results and spread false information and conspiracy theories about mail-in voting. He has a long history of rejecting election results and levying baseless accusations of widespread fraud when he sees election results that he doesn’t like.

He and his team have also attempted to suggest that any delay in the announcement of results is somehow improper, and that, despite Covid, 2020 Election Night should look and feel like any other election — even though the pandemic has drastically transformed how people vote and how states count those ballots. McEnany’s implication that a clear winner be determined on Election Night is rules- or law-based is part of that effort, one that experts say is not grounded in any reality.

“There is no legal requirement that states announce the winner of their popular vote on election night,” said Franita Tolson, a CNN contributor and law professor at the University of Southern California, who pointed out that the legal framework to formally select the next president largely revolves around Electoral College proceedings that take place in December and January.

Unlike other democracies, there is no national authority in the US that handles election results. That informational void is filled by news organizations, which report vote-counts from the states and project winners based on results, exit polling and mathematical forecasts. When one candidate is projected to win 270 electoral

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