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Trump wanted to rip open shirt to show Superman t-shirt when leaving Walter Reed: report

President Trump considered staging his own Clark Kent moment as he exited last week from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by ripping open a button-down to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath, according to The New York Times.

The Times reported on Saturday that during several phone calls from inside the hospital last weekend, Trump shared the idea of appearing frail when he emerged from the facility then exposing the Superman t-shirt underneath his top layer, which he described as a symbol of strength, according to sources with knowledge of the conversations.

Trump reportedly spoke about the idea on multiple phone calls. In the end, the president did not going along with the move. 

The report from the Times came on the same day Trump made his first public appearance on Saturday since returning to the White House from Walter Reed on Monday after a three-night stay following his COVID-19 diagnosis. 

The Times reported the president, who spoke for less than 20 minutes on Saturday, also had a bandage on his hand, which it noted was “a reminder of the treatments and infusions” he has gotten in recent days.

Trump’s doctors have said he was given a steroid, an antiviral drug and an experimental antibody therapy during his treatment of the highly infectious disease. 

The day before his left Walter Reed, Trump was criticized for leaving the facility to wave at supporters from an SUV with two Secret Service agents in the front seat.

Upon returning to the White House the following day on Monday, Trump also got heat for posing for photos on the balcony without a mask, then entering the residence without a face covering.

Just days before, Trump was reported to be exhibiting fatigue and fever. He also had been given supplemental oxygen before and during his stay at Walter Reed, his doctors said during a weekend of conflicting updates on the president’s health.

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Trump criticized for leaving hospital to greet supporters

US President Donald Trump sparked an angry backlash from the medical community Sunday with a protocol-breaking visit to his supporters outside the hospital where he is being treated for the highly-infectious, potentially deadly new coronavirus.

He was masked as he waved from inside his bulletproof vehicle during the short trip outside Walter Reed military medical center near Washington, which appeared designed to take back the narrative on his improving health after a weekend of muddled messaging from his doctors.

But experts complained that the outing broke his own government’s public health guidelines requiring patients to isolate while they are in treatment and still shedding virus — and endangered his Secret Service protection.   

Trump, who has been repeatedly rebuked for flouting public health guidelines and spreading misinformation on the pandemic, said in a video that dropped on Twitter just before the appearance that he had “learned a lot about Covid” by “really going to school” as he has battled the virus.

But health experts took to the airwaves and social media to criticize the “stunt,” which they said demonstrated that he had learned nothing at all. 

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” said James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University.

“They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere said “appropriate” precautions had been taken to protect Trump and his support staff, including protective gear. 

“The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do,” he added.

But Zeke Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and regular TV pundit, described the appearance as “shameful.”

“Making his Secret Service agents drive with a COVID-19 patient, with windows up no less, put them needlessly at risk for infection. And for what? A PR stunt,” he tweeted.

– Confused messaging –

The episode came hours after a briefing by Trump’s medical team, who said he had “continued to improve” and could be returned to the White House, which has the facilities to treat and isolate the president, as early as Monday.

The president was flown to Walter Reed with a high fever on Friday after a “rapid progression” of his illness, with his oxygen levels dropping worryingly low, Trump’s physician Sean Conley said in a Sunday briefing.

Health experts have complained that the messaging from the administration — and particularly Trump’s medical team — has caused widespread confusion.

Conley admitted Sunday that he had kept from the public the fact that the president had been given extra oxygen, in a bid to reflect an “upbeat attitude.”

And he gave a rosy account of Trump’s progress Saturday only for White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to tell reporters immediately that Trump’s condition had been “very concerning” and that he was “still not