US President Donald Trump has spoken for the first time from inside hospital where he is being treated for coronavirus. Taking to Twitter, Mr Trump thanked the staff of the Walter Reed Medical Centre and said he would be “back soon, to finish the campaign” following his treatment for COVID-19.
He also said he was given the option of remaining at the White House but he couldn’t be “locked upstairs and just say ‘hey, whatever happens’”.
Mr Trump was taken to the hospital by helicopter on Friday night reportedly after being administered supplementary oxygen in the White House. He is being treated alongside First Lady Melania Trump.
“I came here, I wasn’t feeling so well. I feel much better now. I’m starting to feel good” he said on Saturday night US time.
“Our First Lady is doing very well. She asked me to say something of the respect and love that she has for our country. Melania is handling it very well and that makes me very happy and makes the country very happy.”
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He said he was given the option of remaining in the White House but made a call to be moved to hospital.
“I just didn’t want to stay in the White House. I was given that alternative, ‘stay in the White House, lock yourself in, don’t even go to the oval office, just stay upstairs and enjoy it. Don’t see people, don’t talk to people and just be done with it’. And I can’t do that; I have to be out front.
“This is America, this is the United States, this is the greatest country in the world this is the most powerful country in the world I can’t be locked upstairs and just say ‘hey, whatever happens’.
“I can’t do that; you have to confront problems. There’s never been a great leader that would have done that. So that’s where it is.”
Yesterday, the doctors treating Mr Trump, led by White House physician Dr Sean Conley, held a media briefing outside Walter Reed Medical Centre around midday, local time. They painted an optimistic picture of the President’s health.
“The President is doing very well,” Dr Conley said.
“At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the President has made. (On) Thursday he had a mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving at this time.
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“It’s important to note the President has been fever free for over 24 hours. We remain cautiously optimistic, but he’s doing great with that.
“One other note, it should be clear that he’s got plenty of work to get done and he’s doing it.”
Dr Sean Dooley, a pulmonary critical care doctor, stressed that Mr Trump was in “exceptionally good spirits”.
“The President this morning is not on oxygen; not having difficulty breathing or walking around the White House medical unit,” said Dr Dooley.
“In fact, as we were completing our rounds this morning, the quote he left us with was: ‘I feel like I could walk out of here today.’ And that was a very encouraging comment from the President.”
However, following that medial brief contradictory information regarding the President’s health began to emerge.
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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows approached the press pool and gave a much more sober assessment of his boss’s condition in recent days.
“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 are still not on a clear path to a full recovery,” he said.
Mr Meadows initially provided this quote on condition of anonymity, with the pool reporters describing him as “a person familiar with the President’s health”.
This caused no small measure of frustration among political reporters, several of whom demanded the anonymous source identify himself.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Meadows’ cover was blown as video footage emerged of him approaching the press pool and asking to speak off the record.
Mr Meadows then gave The Associated Press another quote, on the record this time.
“We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery,” he said.