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.”