U.S. President Donald Trump briefly left the military hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19 in a motorcade on Sunday to wave to supporters gathered outside, sparking criticism that he was putting others at risk for a political stunt.
Trump was captured on video waving from the back seat of a black SUV Sunday evening, wearing a mask, as crowds cheered and waved American flags and pro-Trump banners outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland.
Two people could be seen in the vehicle’s front seats.
Patients who test positive for COVID-19 are generally required to quarantine for 14 days, the typical incubation period for the coronavirus to avoid infecting others. The disease has killed more than 200,000 Americans.
Trump tested positive on Thursday and did not disclose his infection until the early hours of Friday morning.
Shortly before the brief ride, Trump posted a video on Twitter saying he would “pay a little surprise to the some of the great patriots we have out on the street.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows revealed that President Donald Trump’s condition on Friday was far worse than officials had made public, saying doctors recommended the president go to the hospital after seeing he had a fever and his blood oxygen level dropped rapidly.
Meadows made the comments in an interview with Fox News broadcast Saturday night that capped two days of conflicting and opaque assessments of the 74-year-old president’s health.
“I can tell you this the biggest thing we see is with no fever now, and with him doing really well with his oxygen saturation levels,” Meadows told Fox host Jeanine Pirro. “Yesterday morning we were really concerned by that. He had a fever, and his oxygen level had dropped rapidly. Yet in typical style, this president was up and walking around.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere described the drive as a “short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters” and said Trump quickly returned to his hospital suite.
Deere said “appropriate precautions were taken” before the ride to protect the President and those supporting him. “The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do,” he said.
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