"This Is Insanity": Doctors, Secret Service Members Condemn Trump's COVID-19 Joyride

A doctor at the medical center where the president is being treated also said that everyone in the “completely unnecessary” trip now has to quarantine for 14 days.

US President Trump waves from the back of a car in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 4, 2020 | Getty Images
US President Trump waves from the back of a car in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 4, 2020 | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Sunday left the hospital and took a ride outside in a black SUV, past a group of supporters, to the dismay of doctors and White House Secret Service agents. The president has been hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center since Friday.

The move reportedly underscored concerns from Secret Service members, who have said in interviews that the president doesn’t care about the health risks they face when traveling with him.

“He’s not even pretending to care now,” one secret service member told the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.

Medical professionals have condemned the surprise motorcade, suggesting the president wasn’t considering the dangerous implications of his infection.

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die,” Walter Reed attending physician Dr. James P. Phillips tweeted on Sunday. “This is insanity.”

Photos of the surprise stunt show the president, who was wearing a face mask, waving at the group from the rear seat of the SUV. The vehicle’s windows were rolled up, and the president was accompanied by Secret Service members who wore masks and other protective gear.

Trump had teased the “little surprise” to his supporters in a video posted on Twitter earlier Sunday. The president also said in the video that he had further learned about and understood the gravity of the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

Trump was taken to the medical center on Friday, after announcing early that morning that he tested positive for the virus.

The president has been receiving Remdesivir treatment, according to a memo shared by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

White House physician Sean Conley said during a Sunday briefing that Trump's health was improving and that the president could be discharged as early as Monday, even as he announced Trump is taking a steroid recommended for more severe COVID-19 cases. Conley’s briefing drew skepticism from outside health experts.

Conley also presented a rosy depiction of the president’s health on Saturday, which conflicted with a top aide’s later messaging and undermined Conley’s credibility. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters outside of Walter Reed that, “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 continued, asking to speak off the record, though a video of the press pool later revealed his identity.

The White House has not yet specified when Trump last tested negative and whether he was tested before the first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Biden’s campaign said on Sunday that the former Vice President had tested negative for the virus, for at least the third time since Friday.

Since news of Trump’s infection became public, many other GOP officials have also tested positive for the virus including Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.