Trump takes a brief car ride, ignoring own COVID infection

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Infected and contagious, President Donald Trump briefly ventured out in a motorcade on Sunday to salute cheering supporters, a move that disregarded precautions meant to contain the deadly virus that has forced his hospitalization and killed more than 209,000 Americans.

Hours earlier, Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick. Still, the doctors said Trump’s health is improving and that he could be discharged as early as Monday.

With one month until Election Day, Trump was eager to project strength despite his illness. The still-infectious president surprised supporters who had gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, driving by in a black SUV with the windows rolled up. Secret Service agents inside the vehicle could be seen in masks and other protective gear.

The move capped a weekend of contradictions that fueled confusion about Trump’s health, which has imperiled the leadership of the U.S. government and upended the final stages of the presidential campaign. While Trump’s physician offered a rosy prognosis on his condition, his briefings lacked basic information, including the findings of lung scans, or were quickly muddled by more serious assessments of the president’s health by other officials.

In a short video released by the White House on Sunday, Trump insisted he understood the gravity of the moment. But his actions moments later, by leaving the hospital and sitting inside the SUV with others, suggested otherwise.

“This is insanity,” Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed who is a critic of Trump and his handling of the pandemic. “Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die.”


“For political theater,” the doctor added. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump’s trip outside the hospital “was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.” He added that precautions were taken, including using personal protective equipment, to protect Trump as well as White House officials and Secret Service agents.

Joe Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, said the Democratic presidential nominee again tested negative for coronavirus Sunday. The results come five days after Biden spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with Trump. Biden, who has taken a far more cautious approach to in-person events, had two negative tests on Friday.

For his part, Trump still faces questions about his health.

His doctors sidestepped questions on Sunday about exactly when Trump’s blood oxygen dropped — an episode they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before — or whether lung scans showed any damage.

It was the second straight day of obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with

The Latest: Trump Leaves Hospital in Car to Greet Supporters | Political News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on coronavirus infections hitting President Donald Trump and others in his circle (all times EDT):

President Donald Trump briefly left the military hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19, riding in a vehicle to greet supporters gathered outside.

Trump departed the hospital in an armored SUV and remained in the vehicle as he drove past a flag-waving and cheering crowd outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Trump teased his surprise departure in a brief video posted to his Twitter page.

“I also think we’re going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street,” he said, after thanking the doctors at the facility.

Trump did not alert the pool of reporters who are supposed to travel with him before leaving the hospital.

More than seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, in which he has faced bipartisan criticism for playing down the disease, Trump said in the video that he had “learned a lot” about the virus getting it himself.

“I learned it by really going to school,” he said. “This is the real school, this isn’t the ‘let’s read the books’ school. And I get it and I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing.”

State and county officials in New Jersey are contacting more than 200 people who were at President Donald Trump’s Bedminster golf club for Thursday’s campaign fundraiser and asking them to monitor for possible coronavirus symptoms.

If they were in close contact with the president or his staff, they are being asked to quarantine for 14 days. Officials recommend waiting five to seven days from the event to get a COVID-19 test to prevent false negatives.

Trump announced early Friday that he and his wife had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to a statement issued Sunday, the White House sent the New Jersey officials a list of 206 attendees.

Meanwhile, Somerset County officials are contacting employees who worked the event, most of whom live in the county.

State and county officials said the federal government is also conducting contact tracing.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that a full contact tracing, consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was completed for the president’s Bedminster trip. Trump did not have any interactions with Bedminster staff or guests that would be considered to be “close” based on the guidelines, Deere said.

All White House staff considered to be in close contact during the trip have been identified, contacted and recommended to quarantine, Deere said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the doctors treating President Donald Trump for the coronavirus must provide trustworthy information to the public.

Pelosi said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “We need to have trust that what they’re telling us about the President’s condition is real.”

Her interview aired before the president’s medical team held a news conference at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is receiving