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Sunday, 4 October 2020

How Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly infuriated his boss by telling reporters that his 'vitals are very concerning' in bungled off-the-record briefing that led to the president delivering four-minute-long upbeat video address

 Donald Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' revelation to reporters that Donald Trump's 'vitals are very concerning' reportedly angered the president and prompted him to post an upbeat video update on his condition Saturday. 

The New York Times claimed that people close to the situation said that Trump was infuriated by the comments and acted to counteract the perception that he was very sick.    

The president uploaded the four-minute video to his Twitter page on Saturday night in which he said he was 'much better' and fighting coronavirus, as his physician gave a optimistic update on his symptoms. 

Yet earlier in the day, Meadows was caught asking to go off the record with White House reporters as an 'anonymous' source revealed the true extent of the president's condition.   

Donald Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows allegedly angered the president Saturday by giving reporters a frank update off the record on his battle against coronavirus

Donald Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows allegedly angered the president Saturday by giving reporters a frank update off the record on his battle against coronavirus

In response, Trump posted a video giving an optimistic update on his condition

In response, Trump posted a video giving an optimistic update on his condition

'The president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We're still not on a clear path to a full recovery,' Meadows told reporters on the initial condition that he not be identified. 

He was later named as the source of the quote.  

Meadows comments came just after a White House team of doctors said that Trump's condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House. 

One doctor said Trump told them, 'I feel like I could walk out of here today.' 

Meadows did not clarify the discrepancy in his comments. 

A Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president was not happy to learn of Meadows' initial remarks, according to Reuters.  


Hours later, the president posted a video from the hospital where he is battling Covid-19, saying he was improving and would be 'back soon' - but acknowledging the crucial coming days would be 'the real test.

The president attempted to reassure the public that he was not suffering severe coronavirus symptoms and called his treatment 'miracles from God' as he worked to counteract Meadows' comments. 

'I came here, wasn't feeling so well. I feel much better now,' Trump said from his business suite at Walter Reed military medical center near Washington D.C..

'We're working hard to get me all the way back... I think I'll be back soon and I look forward to finishing up the campaign the way it was started.'

Appearing relaxed in an open-collar blue suit and jacket, Trump acknowledged that there was uncertainty about the course of the disease, which can hit recovering patients hard with no warning.

'I'm starting to feel good. You don't know over the next period of a few days, I guess that's the real test, so we'll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days.'\

Reporters said that Meadows had given them an off the record update on Trump

Reporters said that Meadows had given them an off the record update on Trump

Trump claimed that he was doing much better in the video, despite Meadows' comments

Trump claimed that he was doing much better in the video, despite Meadows' comments

Trump says he's 'feeling much better' and 'we'll beat coronavirus'
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Several hours later, Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere posted a picture showing Trump working into the night from the hospital. 

The video came after Meadows' earlier comments spread and led to concern about how ill the president is, despite the optimistic updates from his personal physician. 

Meadows quickly tried to step back his words as the news spread, telling Reuters shortly afterward that Trump was doing 'very well' and that doctors were in fact pleased with his vital signs.

'The president is doing very well. He is up and about and asking for documents to review. The doctors are very pleased with his vital signs. I have met with him on multiple occasions today on a variety of issues,' Meadows said. 

He made a third comment on the president's condition to Fox News on Saturday night in which the Chief of Staff confirmed that there had been a cause for concern when the president was hospitalized on Friday evening.

The White House had said that Trump was traveling to Walter Reed Military Medical Center out of an 'abundance of caution' and would continue to work from they for a 'few days' as he underwent tests. 

'Yesterday morning he was real concerned with that. He had a fever and his blood oxygen level had dropped rapidly,' Meadows said to Fox's Judge Jeanie. 

Yet, he added that Trump's condition had improved. 

'He is doing extremely well. I am very, very optimistic based on the current result,' Meadows added. 

'He's made unbelievable improvement from yesterday' Meadows continued after again saying the doctors were 'very concerned'. 

'We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery,' he added. 

Deputy White House Press secretary Judd Deere tweeted this image allegedly of Trump working from hospital on Saturday night and confusion over his condition spread

Deputy White House Press secretary Judd Deere tweeted this image allegedly of Trump working from hospital on Saturday night and confusion over his condition spread

Trump's personal physician Sean Conley (pictured) said the president is in 'high spirits' and  is continuing to work while hospitalized for treatment for coronavirus on Saturday afternoon

Trump's personal physician Sean Conley (pictured) said the president is in 'high spirits' and  is continuing to work while hospitalized for treatment for coronavirus on Saturday afternoon

On Saturday night, Trump's personal physician Sean Conley delivered an update on the president's condition in which he said that he had made 'substantial progress since diagnosis' but that he was not out of the woods yet as he painted a rosy picture of his condition

On Saturday night, Trump's personal physician Sean Conley delivered an update on the president's condition in which he said that he had made 'substantial progress since diagnosis' but that he was not out of the woods yet as he painted a rosy picture of his condition

Doctors say Trump in 'exceptionally good spirits'
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Meadows delivered the three comments on Saturday as confusion reigned about the extent of Trump's coronavirus symptoms. 

The president's medical team continued to deliver the same upbeat updates on his condition as Trump himself. 

Earlier Saturday, in the first update from Trump's doctors since he was admitted to the hospital, physician Sean Conley said the president was mobile and had been fever free for 24 hours, while his cough, nasal congestion and fatigue were improving.

Trump, 74, is not receiving extra oxygen, he added, and is 'doing very well.' A second doctor, Sean Dooley, said the president's cardiac, kidney and liver function were 'normal.'

Conley was evasive when asked whether the president had received supplementary oxygen at any point since falling ill, only confirming that he hadn't received any at the hospital or on Thursday - the day of his positive test.

Several US media outlets said Trump was on oxygen at the White House on Friday before being admitted to Walter Reed.

A source who was briefed on Trump's condition told Reuters that the decision to hospitalize Trump came after he had experienced difficulty breathing and his oxygen level dropped. 

A Trump adviser had also told CNN that the president was having 'trouble breathing before he was admitted. 

The president, 74, gave a 'thumbs up' as he walked from the White House to Marine One to be airlifted to hospital on Friday evening. He has said that he is doing better in a Twitter video

The president, 74, gave a 'thumbs up' as he walked from the White House to Marine One to be airlifted to hospital on Friday evening. He has said that he is doing better in a Twitter video

Trump is staying in the presidential suite in Walter Reed Military Medical Center, pictured

Trump is staying in the presidential suite in Walter Reed Military Medical Center, pictured 

And on Saturday afternoon it emerged that Trump allegedly asked aides if he was going to die before he was transported to the hospital on Friday.

Vanity Fair correspondent Gabriel Sherman quoted Republicans familiar with the situation as saying that Trump repeatedly asked: 'Am I going out like Stan Chera? Am I?'

Chera, a longtime friend and supporter of Trump, died aged 77 from coronavirus in April in New York City.  

On Saturday night, Conley released another update in the same optimistic tone. 

He said that Trump had made 'substantial progress since diagnosis'. 

'This evening he completed his second dose of remdesivir without complication. He remains fever-free and off supplemental oxygen with a saturation level between 96% and 98% all day,' Conley wrote. 

'He spent most of the afternoon conducted business, and has been up and moving about the medical suite without difficulty. While not yet out of the woods, the team remains cautiously optimistic,' he continued. 

'The plan for tomorrow is to continue observation in between doses of remdesivir, closely monitoring his clinical status while fully supporting his conduct of Presidential duties.'

Conley added to the confusion about Trump's status earlier in the day by suggesting that Trump had been diagnosed on Wednesday - not on Thursday, per the official account - but he later said he had misspoken.

Soon after Trump arrived at the hospital, Conley said in a memo the president was starting a course of therapeutic drug remdesivir and had received an eight-gram dose of an experimental antibody cocktail.

Neither Trump's doctors nor the White House explained why the president was taking unproven drugs if his progress was satisfactory.

The conflicting messaging has led to doubts about the accuracy of the statements  coming from Trump's medical team, versus the comments coming from those in his administration.  

'Today's spectacle - doctors saying one thing, White House sources saying another thing, and both later amending their statements - only reinforces the credibility problems of this administration,' said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. 

Trump's optimism over his recovery prospects has been tempered by news that more people close to the president have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The latest is campaign advisor Chris Christie, who was among several aides that helped Trump prepare for the first presidential debate who have since announced positive tests.

Christie and a number of senators and Trump aides are also among a growing list from the president's orbit to have tested positive for coronavirus after attending an event in the White House Rose Garden last weekend.

The so-called 'White House cluster' includes the president's wife Melania, close confidante Hope Hicks, former White House top aide Kellyanne Conway campaign manager Bill Stepien and Republican senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee.

Heightening the sense of crisis at the heart of power in America, a third Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, announced on Saturday that he had tested positive. 

The president's health represents a national security issue of paramount importance not only to the functions of the U.S. government but to countries around the world, friendly and otherwise. 

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