According to The Guardian, President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Monday, still contagious, and immediately took off his face mask for a photo op.
Trump was tested positive for coronavirus on the 2nd October, just days after he mocked Joe Biden for constantly wearing a mask.
After a three-day stay at a military hospital to treat symptoms of the virus, Trump stepped off the Marine One helicopter just before 7pm and walked up the staircase of the White House. He stopped in front of an entrance, turned to face the south lawn and then proceeded to remove his mask while posing for cameras.
Trump waved, gave two thumbs up and saluted as he watched Marine One lift off from the south lawn.
Footage suggests that the US president was breathing hard, as though he was struggling to breath. He then waved and walked inside, where his staff, who were all wearing masks, were visible. He reemerged for what appeared to be a film shoot.
Trump offered some bizarre advice about the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans. He said: “Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re gonna beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently.”
The much criticised president added: “Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. And I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger, but that’s OK. And now I’m better and maybe I’m immune – I don’t know! But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there. Be careful.”
Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress think tank, told the MSNBC network: “I could not imagine a greater act of selfishness by a human being, let alone the president of the United States, who is supposed to protect us. He’s doing the opposite, he’s endangering people around him.”
President Trump tweeted earlier in the day: “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
The message appeared to confirm the predictions of critics that, if Trump continues to remain relatively healthy, he will attempt to use his own experience of the virus to downplay it yet again and claim its severity has been exaggerated.
Sean Conley, the White House physician, whose own credibility had been questioned, said: “He’s met or exceeded all standard discharge criteria.”
Doctor Conley added: “We send patients home with medications all the time. In fact, yesterday afternoon he probably met most of his discharge requirements.”
A reporter asked how this decision would be safe, referring to Trump’s drive for supporters on Sunday and his return to the White House.
Conley said: “The president has been surrounded by medical and security staff for days wearing full PPE. And yesterday the US secret service agents were in that same level of PPE for a very short period of time.”
“Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations and, most importantly, his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home where he’ll be surrounded by world class medical care 24/7.”
But Conley repeatedly declined to say whether Trump’s lungs had suffered inflammation as a result of contracting the Covid, or when he received his last negative test. He said: “I don’t want to go backwards.”
Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary under Bill Clinton, tweeted: “This Presidency has turned grotesque. The President is a superspreader who thinks he’s immune and doesn’t care how many he kills – as long as the camera gets his good side.”