White House prepared for Trump to return to Oval Office



a man wearing a blue shirt: US President Donald Trump wears a facemask as he leaves Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland heading to Marine One on October 5, 2020, to return to the White House after being discharged. - Trump announced Monday he would be "back on the campaign trail soon", just before returning to the White House from a hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)


© Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump wears a facemask as he leaves Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland heading to Marine One on October 5, 2020, to return to the White House after being discharged. – Trump announced Monday he would be “back on the campaign trail soon”, just before returning to the White House from a hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s aides were preparing for him to return to the Oval Office on Wednesday, an eventuality one senior official seemed to believe was so inevitable he mistakenly claimed it already happened.

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After Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said in an interview that Trump had been working from the Oval Office a day after returning from the hospital, the White House quickly clarified the President remained isolated in his residence.

But few seemed to think that would last much longer, even though he is carrying an active case of coronavirus. In a new memo released midday Wednesday, Trump’s doctor relayed the President saying “I feel great!” and reported he had been symptom-free for 24 hours. But the memo declined again to provide critical information such as when Trump last tested negative, what his lung scans show and whether he is still on the steroid dexamethasone or any other medications that could be masking his symptoms.

Trump’s “schedule right now is fluid, we’re looking at his prognosis,” chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters at the White House. “If he decides to go to the Oval, we’ve got safety protocols there.”

Indeed, preparations have been made for Trump’s eventual return to the Oval Office, including positioning a so-called “isolation cart” stocked with yellow medical gowns, respirator masks and plastic goggles required for visitors just outside the office doors near where Trump’s assistants sit.

Trump made phone calls and spoke with aides mostly from his third-floor quarters on Tuesday but did tape a video from downstairs where offices were set up for him next to the medical suite. The video hadn’t been released by Wednesday morning, nor had the White House distributed any photos of the President after his return from Walter Reed hospital.

Trump’s intent on returning to his office had some senior officials convinced he already had.

“The President actually showed up in the Oval Office yesterday with extra precautions with respect to his Covid-19,” Kudlow said Wednesday in an interview on CNBC. “He’s getting a lot better, he’s a lot strong. So there was some limited activity.”

Kudlow’s account was entirely different than Meadows’, who was speaking simultaneously at the White House. The White House insisted Kudlow misspoke and that Trump remained in the White House residence.

All except Trump’s senior-most aides are mostly in the dark about his health status beyond what his doctor released publicly. While he seemed short of breath at times on Monday night, people said he

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