Trump to spend several days at Walter Reed after COVID symptoms worsen

By: , and - October 3, 2020 9:25 am

Marine One, with U.S. President Donald Trump on board, leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on Oct. 2, 2020. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus. Photo by Drew Angerer | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Maryland late Friday afternoon, where White House officials said he is expected to stay for “the next few days” for treatment of COVID-19.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany described Trump, who disclosed his diagnosis earlier Friday, as having mild symptoms and “in good spirits,” and said that the hospital stay was recommended by his physician “out of an abundance of caution.” 

Presidential aides told The New York Times that Trump was experiencing coughing, congestion and fever, symptoms that worsened through the day.

Dr. Sean P. Conley, Trump’s physician, said in a memo Friday that Trump received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail from drug maker Regeneron, along with several other medications.

Heading to Marine One for the short flight wearing a suit, a tie, and a black face mask, Trump gave a thumbs-up and a wave. He did not stop for questions from reporters.

The announcement of Trump’s hospital stay was among a series of stunning developments throughout Friday, rocking a contentious presidential election even as thousands of Americans already have cast their ballots.

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Trump had announced his diagnosis just before 1 a.m. Friday on Twitter, posting that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive. 

“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted.

However, on Saturday, Conley told reporters that Trump had been diagnosed with COVID-19 72 hours ago — about mid-morning on Wednesday, and roughly 36 hours before the president’s condition was made public. That announcement came only after news reports that a top aide had tested positive.

Late Thursday, Bloomberg News had reported that Hope Hicks, a close aide to Trump, had tested positive for the virus. Hicks had traveled to and from the presidential debate in Cleveland on Air Force One with Trump and also traveled to Minnesota with him, Bloomberg said.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who shared the debate stage with Trump on Tuesday, posted on Twitter Friday that he and his wife, Jill, tested negative for the virus. “Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern,” he said. “I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance and wash your hands.”

In addition, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the Bidens’ physician, issued a statement through the campaign. “Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected,” he said.

Jim Small contributed to this report.

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Jane Norman
Jane Norman

As the Washington Bureau Chief of States Newsroom, Jane directs national coverage, managing staff and freelance reporters in the nation’s capital and assigning and editing state-specific daily and enterprise stories. Jane is a veteran of more than three decades in journalism.

Laura Olson
Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Arizona Mirror. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Ariana Figueroa
Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.