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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Pressure mounts on Trump to clearly condemn white supremacy. The White House insists he already has

Trump has yet to offer that kind of condemnation since GOP senators weighed in after Tuesday’s presidential debate.

And while the White House insisted that he has been repeatedly clear on the subject both before and after, he did not stop to take the opportunity to speak with reporters as he departed the White House Thursday, as he typically does, including as recently as Wednesday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked several times Thursday whether the president unambiguously denounces white supremacists, repeatedly avoided offering a simple declarative repudiation.

Pressed by Fox News’ John Roberts in the first exchange of Thursday’s White House briefing if she could “right now” denounce white supremacy on behalf of the president, McEnany instead argued the president has been “entirely consistent” and that his “record is unmistakable,” arguing he had done so when asked at the debate.

“If I could start off,” Roberts said, “I would like to ask you for a definitive and declarative statement without ambiguity or deflection. As the person who speaks for the president, does the president denounce white supremacism and groups that espouse it, in all their forms?”

“This was answered by the president himself. He said ‘sure’ three times,” Mcenany replied. “Yesterday, he was point blank asked, ‘Do you denounce white supremacy?’ and he said ‘I’ve always denounced any form of that,'” she said, reading from a transcript, reciting an exchange in which Trump did not use the term “white supremacy” himself.

There’s a well-established pattern of Trump showing a reluctance to disavow radical and racist groups and ideologies dating back to before he took office.

Asked again by Roberts if she would offer a simple declarative condemnation on behalf of the president to clear up lingering confusion left by his comments, McEnany claimed she had already done so.

“I just did. The president has denounced it repeatedly. The president was asked this. You are contriving a story line and narrative.”

After Roberts, other reporters continued to press for an unambiguous condemnation — McEnany stood by her position.

One reporter challenged McEnany, saying the president had a mixed record on the issue.

“His record is not mixed in the slightest. When you go back in history you can

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