- Since the news broke that President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19, accurate information about his illness has been hard to come by.
- White House officials and the president’s doctors have not been straightforward about the Trump’s condition and the timeline of his diagnosis.
- Here is a breakdown of their contradictions so far.
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News broke that President Donald Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus with a tweet he posted at 12:54 a.m. ET on Friday. In the days since, statements from the White House and Trump’s own physician have muddied the waters, and the public is still largely in the dark about the state of the president’s health.
Here is a breakdown of the contradictions and cover-ups surrounding Trump’s illness.
- In an interview with Fox News on Thursday night, Trump told host Sean Hannity he had just learned that his adviser, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the virus. The White House has now acknowledged that at the time he spoke to Hannity, Trump had already tested positive himself on a rapid test and was awaiting results from a second test.
- Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday afternoon, “out of an abundance of caution,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at the time. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows later painted a dimmer picture of Trump’s health on Friday when he was hospitalized. “He had a fever and his blood oxygen level had dropped rapidly,” he told Fox News on Saturday evening.
- On Saturday, White House physician Sean Conley told reporters that “yesterday and today” Trump had not been treated with supplemental oxygen. On Sunday, however, Conley disclosed that the president was indeed given oxygen: “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so, came off as if we were trying to hide something.”
Conley also told reporters on Saturday that Trump was “72 hours into the diagnosis,” suggesting the president had tested positive on Wednesday — before he traveled to Minnesota that evening for a campaign rally and over 24 hours before his diagnosis was officially announced. Conley later walked back his remarks, claiming in a memot that he’d used the term “seventy two hours” instead of “day three” and ‘”forty eight hours” instead of “day two.”
- Conley also wrote in a memo that Trump had been treated with “polyclonal antibody therapy,” but the treatment is actually a monoclonal, from Regeneron, which Conley misspelled as “Regeron.”
- Meadows told reporters that “we’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery” on Saturday. The comments reportedly infuriated the president, and Trump sought to provide his own rosier take of his situation on Twitter, posting, “I am feeling well!”
- Trump started treatment with a steroid, called dexamethasone, Conley said on Sunday. Conley offered an upbeat assessment of Trump’s health during the same press conference, though the drug is normally reserved for severe cases of the virus.
- Trump’s surprise drive-by greeting for supporters outside the military hospital on Sunday was criticized by medical experts, who pointed out the health risks posed to Secret Service agents inside the car. Meadows pushed back on the criticism, saying, “How do we think he got here?”
- Meadows insisted on Monday that the White House is hopeful Trump could be discharged from the hospital as early as today, despite the president being in the early stages of his treatment for the coronavirus.