Day 1,353: White House can’t keep story straight about Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms
One of the biggest challenge for the White House in dealing with managing communications related to Donald Trump’s diagnosis of COVID-19 has been they haven’t been trustworthy sources of information for four years. Lacking all credibility, no one particularly believes any update.
The White House gave no reason to think otherwise Saturday.
Trump’s doctor, White House physician Sean Conley, and White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, have said dramatically different things about Trump’s condition in past day.
At one point, Conley said that Trump’s treatment started Wednesday (despite a public diagnosis of Thursday) before later claiming he misspoke.
People have real questions about Trump’s health, as it has national security and election consequences for every American. Yet Conley has been extremely coy, while Meadows is revealing quite a bit more and the information doesn’t really align.
Pieced together, while the White House is trying to show an improving situation, behind the scenes show a petrified and quite ill Trump and a very fluid situation.
After spending months denying the dangers of COVID-19, Trump is expressing an emotion aides have rarely seen: fear. On Friday, Trump grew visibly anxious as his fever spiked to 103 fahrenheit and he was administered oxygen at the White House, according to three Republicans close to the White House. Two sources told me Trump experienced heart palpitations on Friday night — possible side effects of the experimental antibody treatment he received. Trump has wondered aloud if he could defeat the disease. “Am I going out like Stan Chera?” Trump has asked aides, referring to his friend, New York real-estate developer Stan Chera, who died of COVID in April.
On Saturday, two sources said Trump was feeling better. But it is difficult to assess the information given the White House’s history of lying. According to a source, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has told Republicans that the next few days will be critical to determine the virus’s outcome. “Meadows has said if Trump can get out of the hospital by Tuesday, then he’s gone through the worst of it. But if he’s still there after Tuesday, the worst is yet to come,” the source told me.
For months, Trump and his team have flagrantly disregarded the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Now, finger-pointing, misinformation and dysfunction abound, as Trump sits at Walter Reed hospital, his true condition largely shielded from the world as unreliable narrators give updates every few hours.
1,353 days in, 109 to go
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