Live Updates: Trump Coronapocalypse, Day 4
Ahoy! Because this is a big and constantly developing story, we thought it would be prudent to just get updates up as quickly as possible and also to just have them all in one post, which we will be updating throughout the day. For convenience!
(Press conference starts at 34 minutes in)
In a press conference outside Walter Reed, several of the doctors attending to Donald Trump, led by his personal physician
Dr Leo Spaceman Dr. Sean Conley, explained that — although he wasn't out of the woods yet and is still contagious — it is totally fine for him to be going home today.
"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 will be surrounded by world class medical care 24/7," Dr. Conley said.
Dr. Brian Garibaldi told reporters, "Our plan is to give him the fourth treatment of Remdesivir this evening before he goes back to the White House, and we've made arrangements to deliver the fifth and final dose of his treatment course at the White House tomorrow evening."
Collectively, all of the doctors said as many words as they could without giving any relevant information away whatsoever, including when his last negative test was, even though that is a pretty important thing for people to know. Dr. Conley said that to tell people that would be going "backwards," whatever the hell that means.
Dr. Conley also refused to discuss whether the president has had lung damage, citing HIPAA, which apparently only applies to bad news; hydroxychloroquine and why they didn't give it to him; and whether he, too, believes that people have no reason to fear COVID-19 and should perhaps just all go out and get infected, for funsies. Plus what Dr. Gounder said:
"Dr. Conley just said that POTUS has not been on fever-reducing medications for 72 hours. That is wrong. Dexamethasone is a fever-reducing medication."
Oh well, it's not as if medicine is a science.
Dr. Conley did say though, after being asked whether the president was having neurological issues or fogginess, "I think you've seen the videos and the tweets. He's back."
Trump just announced in a tweet that he will be leaving Walter Reed at 6:30 tonight, on this, day four since his public/official diagnosis with coronavirus — a virus that is usually most dangerous between the fifth through tenth days.
I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! 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!
Steroids will do that to you.
Telling people not to be afraid of COVID-19, a virus that has now killed 215,000 Americans, is quite a thing to do. Especially when not everyone has the money to be rushed, by air, to a hospital where they can try every single drug available. Especially when he has socialized health care and we do not.
By going to the White House, he's putting everyone there at risk. He's still infectious, and he doesn't freaking give a shit, because what matters to him is that he looks manly.
Two staffers who work for Kayleigh McEnany have — SURPRISE! — also tested positive for COVID-19. This is very shocking given how very, very careful everyone in the White House has been this whole time.
With three positives from the White House press office alone, all non-essential workers in the West Wing press area are going to go work from home "as a precaution." Yeah, that's probably a good idea. They're practically geniuses here. It's hard to imagine that this administration screwed up the COVID-19 response as badly as it did when they're doing such an incredible job of managing their own outbreak. "Work from home during an outbreak of a deadly virus" — man, that's genius. Did they come up with that themselves?
Looks like y'all are hanging out in here today, so here's some non-bloog posts from Robyn, SER, Michael, and Liz today:
Don't forget to tip your bloggers!
Today's "Aren't You Just Precious?" award goes to CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, who tweeted the following:
LOL! Vice President Starscream knows as much about President Covid-tron's health as we do, which is nothing reliable. All Trump and those close to him care about is remaining in power, so of course they are going to send Pence out to campaign on his behalf like a good little sycophant rather than, say, keeping him in Washington for the nation's security when the president is gravely ill.
The Trump crime family wouldn't keep Pence in Washington for the very reason that it would reek of weakness. People might suspect that the president has one foot on the grave and the other on a banana peel. No one with the last name Trump cares about national security or continuity of government. All that matters is digging Trump out of his current electoral hole.
Pence shouldn't be traveling anyway because he was in the same room with multiple people who've since tested positive. If I were him, I wouldn't show my face in public on the general principle that I'm the supposed head of the White House coronavirus task force and now almost everyone in the White House has coronavirus.
Donald Trump grudgingly admitted he had COVID-19 last Friday, and the question quickly emerged about when, if ever, his personal Ed McMahon, Mike Pence, might assume his duties, even if temporarily.
Politico points out that past presidents have ceded control under far less serious and unpredictable circumstances.
[The 25th Amendment] allows for temporary transfers of authority, such as in 2002 and 2007 when President George W. Bush transferred authority temporarily to Vice President Dick Cheney for a few hours each time while he underwent routine colonoscopies. In 1985, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush performed the duties of the presidency for roughly eight hours while President Ronald Reagan underwent colon surgery.
Trump's ailment isn't ass-related, but he is an asshole. Pence should be on deck, but Trump is of course too vain and self-centered to willingly cede power. He'd have to die first. Trump reminds me of the gangsters in movies who are so paranoid they demand only local anesthesia when having surgery, so they can "see what's happening." Of course, in reality, Trump would probably faint at the first sight of a scalpel.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland claims the current process is a mess, made even worse by the pandemic.
"I hope that the White House today will announce the medical chain of command so that the public and Congress will know precisely who to listen to," said Raskin, who has filed legislation in recent years intended to clarify the line of succession in an emergency. "We need to have precision about who is in control of the executive branch at all times."
The answer to the question "Who's in charge?" right now is less clear than "Who's on first?" White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was always subordinate to Jared Kushner, because Trump doesn't even have the sense of Vito Corleone, who never let his own idiot son-in-law anywhere near the family business. This just reinforces the longstanding problem of the Trump administration's blatant nepotism. Family members are hardly objective, and in Kushner's case, his sole motivation is to remain in power, even if Trump is more heavily medicated than Keith Richards during the 1970s.
And if Trump becomes incapacitated before invoking the 25th Amendment, but does not die, the situation becomes even more complicated — and the guidelines are more vague.
Trump's been mentally incapacitated while still technically alive for his entire presidency, but if he becomes more obviously useless, Pence and a majority of the Cabinet could notify Congress that the vice president should take over. That is unlikely to happen, as Trump's installed a Cabinet of stooges loyal to him. Meanwhile, there is no clear chain of command during a pandemic that has felled the commander in chief, and our enemies are watching.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is the latest Trump staffer to test positive for COVID-19 after President Prospero's Red Death gala for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
McEnany released this statement:
MCENANY: After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms.
Congratulations. No, seriously, we don't want anyone to get ill, but even if you're asymptomatic, you are still a potential threat for spreading the disease. That might've been important to know at Barrett's Sweet Sixteen.
MCENANY: As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American people at this time.
Aside from its comma usage, everything in that sentence is wrong.
MCENANY: With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely.
Everyone at the Barrett bash should be in quarantine right now, and I don't want Kamala Harris anywhere near Mike Pence this week.
Appearing on Fox and Friends this morning, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — who is reportedly in big trouble with Trump for telling journalists the truth about the seriousness of his infection — announced that a decision on whether or not Trump would be discharged today would most likely be made this afternoon.
Well that determination has not been made yet. Obviously he continues to improve overnight and his health continues to improve. The doctors will actually have an evaluation sometime late morning and then the President in consultation with the doctors will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today. [...]
We are still optimistic that based on his unbelievable progress and how strong he's been in terms of his fight against this Covid-19 disease, that he will be released, but that decision won't be made until later today.
Something about this description, at least the "unbelievable progress" part, feels a little Russia, a little North Korea, a little Weekend At Bernie's. But hey! What do we know. Nothing. We still really know nothing, because of how the administration is being super cagey about everything.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse