President Donald J. Trump waves as he walks across the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, to board Marine One en route to Joint Base Andrews, Md. to begin his trip to Minnesota. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Trump Treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed as More in President’s Circle Fall Ill

The morning after President Trump was admitted to Walter National Military Medical Center, Trump’s physician told reporters that the president is responding well to treatment while an official told the White House press pool that Trump’s vital signs have been “very concerning.”

White House physician Sean Conley first issued a memo Friday at 1 a.m. confirming that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive and “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.” Trump had earlier tweeted that he was tested after news leaked that Hope Hicks, counselor to Trump, began suffering COVID symptoms Wednesday and was quarantined at her Washington home.

Trump reportedly began to experience more symptoms before Marine One flew him to Walter Reed on Friday evening, where the administration said he expected to remain for at least a “few days.”

Conley said that Trump is not currently receiving oxygen, though he would not say whether the president has received it at any point during his illness; the Associated Press reported that Trump received supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday before being flown to Walter Reed. Trump is on a course of the antiviral remdesivir, which might shorten the duration of COVID-19, and on Friday he received a dose of antibody cocktail Regeneron, an experimental drug not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Conley said at the press conference that Trump is “72 hours into his diagnosis,” which would have put his diagnosis before he attended a Thursday fundraising event in Bedminster, N.J., where the president and donors were not wearing masks; the White House said afterward that Conley meant to say “three days.” Conley would not answer when Trump last tested negative for COVID, nor questions on Trump’s heart or lung scans or vital signs.

Conley told reporters that Trump is “doing very well” and his doctors are “extremely happy” with his progress. He said the president has not had a fever for about 24 hours; one the medications being given to Trump is aspirin.

After Conley spoke to the press, an unnamed White House official released this statement to the press pool: “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.”

Several individuals who were at last Saturday’s Rose Garden ceremony announcing Trump’s Supreme Court pick have also tested positive for COVID-19, including Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and an unnamed journalist. Individuals who were with Trump during his debate prep have also tested positive: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel interacted with Trump the week before the Rose Garden ceremony and has tested positive. And Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who came out of quarantine Tuesday after previous exposure to someone who had the virus, returned to Washington on Tuesday and tested positive Friday. Lee, Tillis, and Johnson were together at Senate GOP lunches this week.

In addition, at least three White House reporters and 11 staff members from Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland have tested positive.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has agreed to a request from the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will be 12 feet from Vice President Mike Pence instead of seven feet at Wednesday’s vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City. Biden and Pence say they have tested negative for COVID-19.

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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