‘I will die for Trump’: Moment VERY excited man gets a wave from Trump during Walter Reed drive-by as supporters from all over America turn out for the President
- The streets by Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland, were transformed into a MAGA rally over the weekend
- Trump supporters began flocking to the hospital within hours of his arrival on Friday afternoon
- They formed a sea of red, white and blue studded with signs wishing the president a speedy recovery
- By Sunday hundreds of people had joined the cause, as the Trump campaign began handing out refreshments
- Trump paid fans a surprise visit on Sunday evening by driving past them in an SUV
- The electricity of the crowd was captured in a Twitter video showing a supporter shouting: ‘God bless our president, I will die for him!’
- A smaller group gathered on Monday as Trump’s doctors indicated he could be discharged later in the day
The streets surrounding the military medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, were transformed into a makeshift campaign event within hours of the president’s hospitalization on Friday afternoon as supporters turned out with Trump 2020 flags and signs wishing him a speedy recovery.
By Sunday afternoon hundreds of people had joined the cause, as the Trump campaign began handing out pizza, candy and water to the crowds corralled behind metal barricades.
Itching to get back on the campaign trail and prove that he’s doing well, Trump broke free of his presidential hospital suite that evening to pay his fans a surprise visit with a joyride around the hospital, despite the fact that he remains highly contagious.
The electricity of the crowd was captured in a Twitter video in which a supporter could be heard shouting: ‘God bless our president, I will die for him!’
A smaller group convened outside the hospital again on Monday morning as Trump’s doctors indicated he could be discharged later in the day.
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Donald Trump supporters from around the country flocked to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda over the weekend to rally around the president as he battles the coronavirus. Pictured: A group camps outside the hospital on Monday morning after Trump’s doctors indicated he could be discharged later in the day
The streets surrounding Walter Reed were transformed into a makeshift campaign event within hours of the president’s hospitalization on Friday afternoon as supporters turned out with Trump 2020 flags and signs wishing him a speedy recovery
By Sunday afternoon hundreds of people had joined the cause, as the Trump campaign began handing out pizza, candy and water to the crowds corralled behind metal barricades
A lone Joe Biden supporter stands among a flock of Trump fans outside Walter Reed on Sunday afternoon
President Trump rewarded his fans’ loyalty by breaking free of his hospital suite on Sunday evening to take a joyride around the complex and wave to fans
Fans went wild as Trump drove by in an SUV on Sunday evening and police cautioned them to remain behind barricades
The last several days have proved unpredictable for the Trump administration as they battled both illness and dwindling poll numbers just one month before the contentious November election.
It was confirmed early Friday morning that Trump and First Lady Melania tested positive following several days of campaign rallies and Tuesday’s debate with Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio.
Nearly a dozen people who worked at the first presidential debate tested positive after Chris Wallace, moderator and Fox News anchor, claimed that the Trump family did not undergo prior testing and refused to wear masks.
At least seven of Trump’s inner circle, including Kellyanne Conway, revealed they were infected after attending Amy Coney Barrett’s ‘superspreader’ Supreme Court Justice nomination in the Rose Garden last week.
With Trump sidelined from the campaign trail until he’s no longer contagious, his supporters began staging their own rallies across the country, with the largest taking place just a few hundred yards from the president’s hospital bed.
Supporters began arriving at Walter Reed on Saturday morning, armed with MAGA flags, uplifting signs and small tributes for the president, including flowers and stuffed animals.
Despite the circumstances that landed Trump in the hospital, the crowds were largely mask-less and ignoring social distancing recommendations.
Among the most notable attendees of Saturday’s gathering were members of the Proud Boys, the far-right group that Trump told to ‘stand back and stand by’ during last week’s debate.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was photographed in the crowd as people around him chanted: ‘Gavin! Gavin!’
Caravans of cars drove down the street honking on Saturday and Sunday in hopes that Trump would hear their support
Pizza provided by the Trump campaign is seen on the ground after most crowds dispersed on Sunday night
Trump supporters are eager to see the president return to the campaign trail as the election approaches in less than a month
A man raises a salute outside Walter Reed on Monday while holding a ‘Trump 2020’ flag
Only a small portion of the supporters at Walter Reed wore masks, despite the circumstances that landed Trump there
Dozens of ‘Trump 2020’ and American flags lined the street outside Walter Reed on Sunday when Trump drove by
Well-wishers camp outside Walter Reed hospital on Sunday armed with various MAGA gear and signs
An even larger crowd turned out on Sunday after the White House admitted that Trump’s condition was more severe than previously indicated – an admission officials made only after several leaks, including from Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Local police set up barricades to keep the crowds from spilling into the streets, where caravans of cars drove by honking in support of the president.
Many of the supporters drove hundreds of miles to the hospital, including a nurse from North Carolina named Tamara.
‘I feel that there’s more power in prayer, to be honest,’ Tamara told Politico while wearing a star-spangled MAGA hat and holding a ‘We Heart Trump’ sign. ‘So I wanted to come here and be with people and actually be near him as much as possible to pray for him.’
‘These people are just as enthused as they are at regular Trump rallies,’ a man named John told the outlet as he sold various MAGA merchandise out of a shopping cart.
Trump rewarded the show of loyalty on Sunday evening by briefly venturing out in a motorcade to salute cheering supporters, a move that disregarded precautions meant to contain the deadly virus that has forced his hospitalization and killed more than 209,000 Americans.
Hours earlier, Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick. Still, the doctors said Trump’s health is improving and that he could be discharged as early as Monday.
With one month until Election Day, Trump was eager to project strength despite his illness from behind a mask and the tinted windows of his SUV.
The move capped a weekend of contradictions that fueled confusion about Trump’s health, which has imperiled the leadership of the US government and upended the final stages of the presidential campaign.
An SUV transports Trump and several Secret Service agents down the street outside the hospital on Sunday evening
Trump smiles behind his mask and flashes two thumbs up as he passes by supporters on Sunday evening
A large law enforcement presence was outside the hospital on Sunday as the crowds expanded
Some of the supporters stepped out into the street despite police barricades holding them back
Police officers watch over a throng of Trump supporters ignoring social distancing guidelines on Sunday afternoon
Crowds remained outside Walter Reed even after the sun went down on Sunday night
A pile of flowers and balloons sits on the sign outside Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Monday morning
While Trump’s physician offered a rosy prognosis on his condition, his briefings lacked basic information, including the findings of lung scans, or were quickly muddled by more serious assessments of the president’s health by other officials.
In a short video released by the White House on Sunday, Trump insisted he understood the gravity of the moment. But his actions moments later, by leaving the hospital and sitting inside the SUV with others, suggested otherwise.
‘This is insanity,’ said Dr James P Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed who is a critic of Trump and his handling of the pandemic. ‘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.’
‘For political theater,’ the doctor added. ‘Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.’
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump’s trip outside the hospital ‘was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.’ He added that precautions were taken, including using personal protective equipment, to protect Trump as well as White House officials and Secret Service agents.
Joe Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, said the Democratic presidential nominee again tested negative for coronavirus Sunday. The results come five days after Biden spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with Trump. Biden, who has taken a far more cautious approach to in-person events, had two negative tests on Friday.
For his part, Trump still faces questions about his health.
His doctors sidestepped questions on Sunday about exactly when Trump’s blood oxygen dropped – an episode they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before – or whether lung scans showed any damage.
It was the second straight day of obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with the American public about the severity of his condition.
Over the weekend Trump’s team offered a number of conflicting reports surrounding the president’s illness, sowing doubt about when he tested positive and how severe his symptoms have been. Pictured: Trump delivers an address in a Twitter video on Saturday night
The White House released this photo of Trump working at Walter Reed on Saturday night
Trump’s personal physician Sean Conley (left) offered a vague update on his condition outside Walter Reed on Saturday morning, saying the president is doing ‘very well’. But after the presser Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (right) told a pool reporter: ‘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’
Pressed about conflicting information he and the White House released on Saturday, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley acknowledged that he had tried to present a sunnier description of the president´s condition.
‘I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had. Didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,’ Conley said.
‘And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.’
Medical experts said Conley’s revelations were hard to square with his positive assessment and talk of a discharge.
‘There’s a little bit of a disconnect,’ said Dr Steven Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
According to CDC guidelines, ‘In general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes.’
Even before Trump’s motorcade outing on Sunday, some Secret Service agents have expressed concern about the lackadaisical attitude toward masks and social distancing inside the White House, but there isn’t much they can do, according to agents and officials who spoke to The Associated Press.
This close to the election, thousands of agents are engaged on protective duty so they can be subbed out quickly should someone test positive.
THE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS OVER TRUMP’S HEALTH
WHEN PRECISELY WAS HE DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19?
We now have had three different versions of when Trump was diagnosed from the White House, ranging from Wednesday morning to Friday at 1am. The White House has also not said what ‘diagnosed’ means – it could mean spotting clinical symptoms or testing positive.
The White House first announced Donald Trump’s positive test result – and that of the first lady – at 1am EST on Friday morning.
But Dr. Sean Conley said on Saturday morning just before midday that the president was ’72 hours into the diagnosis’.
That’s hours before he flew to Minnesota for an indoors fundraiser and outdoors rally in Duluth, and one day before he attended an indoor fundraiser at Trump’s golf course and country club Bedminster, New Jersey.
There were reportedly 100 people in attendance and Trump reportedly met about 19 high-dollar GOP donors in private. He was reportedly ‘lethargic’ at that fundraiser.
If Trump was 72 hours into his diagnosis, that would mean Trump was positive a day after the presidential debate with Joe Biden and positive during a Minnesota rally Wednesday (above) and a fundraising event in New Jersey attended by 100 people Thursday
The crowd that gathered for Trump’s rally at Duluth International Airport Wednesday above
Dr. Conley then offered a different version saying that on Thursday afternoon ‘we repeated testing’ and Trump was given a PCR test – the most accurate kind because he ‘gave a kind of clinical indication.’
He did not say if that was before or after he flew to New Jersey for an indoors fundraiser.
Trump himself told Sean Hannity shortly after 9pm that night that he was waiting for a test.
After Conley spoke a White House source said ‘on background’: ‘The doctor meant it’s day 3, not yet 72hrs. Diagnosis made Thursday night.’
Then in another turn, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a written statement from Conley saying he incorrectly used the term ‘seventy two hours’ instead of ‘day three’ and ‘forty eight hours’ instead of ‘day two’ with regards to his diagnosis and treatment.
Then in another turn, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a written statement from Conley saying he incorrectly used the term ‘seventy two hours’ instead of ‘day three’ and ‘forty eight hours’ instead of ‘day two’ with regards to his diagnosis
‘The president was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening on Thursday October 1st and had received Regeron’s antibody cocktail on Friday October 2nd,’ he clarified.
A Regeneron spokesperson said Conley was also incorrect by calling it polyclonal antibody theory in his memo.
‘It is two monoclonal antibodies. It was incorrect in the physician’s letter,’ Regeneron spokesperson Hala Mirza told CBS News.
When asked point blank Conley refused to share the date of Trump’s last negative COVID-19 test.
WHY DID A WHITE HOUSE SOURCE IMMEDIATELY CONTRADICT HIS DOCTOR?
A White House official said immediately after Conley’s press conference Saturday that the doctor misspoke in saying Trump was ’72 hours’ into his diagnosis.
The official said Conley was wrong and Trump was diagnosed Thursday night and treatment began that night.
WHEN PRECISELY WERE SYMPTOMS FIRST DETECTED AND WHEN PRECISELY WAS HE TESTED?
There is no clarity over when Trump was last tested before his positive result. Dr. Conley repeated the White House claim that he is tested ‘frequently’ but did not say what that meant. They have never said if he was routinely given the less accurate Abbott Labs 15 minute test or the advanced PCR test.
When he arrived at Tuesday’s presidential debate Trump was too late to be tested by the Cleveland Clinic. Moderator Chris Wallace said there was an ‘honor system’ for the candidates; Trump’s team told the Debate Commission he was negative. That night he flew home on Air Force One from the presidential debate and aides said he was tired but decided it was because of the debate. But lethargy is symptom – and it is unknown if doctors took note of it.
Charlie Kolean who works in financial services posted video of himself driving the Trump fundraiser (left) and took video of the president’s helicopter Marine One lifting off (right)
As of Friday evening New Jersey was apparently still waiting for a full roster compiled from information from the RNC, White House and golf club of those who were in attendance. The Bedminster club house is pictured (file photo)
Then Dr. Conley initially said Trump was diagnosed ’72 hours’ before the Saturday statement which would mean Wednesday morning.
Trump went to Minnesota on Wednesday for a fundraiser in Minneapolis and a rally in Duluth, where he spoke for 45 minutes, far less than his usual performances of more than an hour. Then he fell asleep on Air Force One in contrast to normally watching television and tweeting. But it is unknown if this was seen as a possible symptom at the time.
Hope Hicks’ positive result came on Thursday morning but nobody has said if Trump was tested as soon as it was given or if it was until late Thursday afternoon that he was given a full nasal swab.
WHEN WAS HE FIRST TREATED FOR COVID?
Dr. Sean Conley said Saturday that he was speaking ’48 hours after’ the first Regenron treatment was given to Trump. That would mean on Thursday morning.
And another doctor – Brian Garibaldi – said: ‘About 48 hours ago the president received a special antibody therapy directed against the coronavirus. We are working very closely with the company to monitor him in terms of that outcome. Yesterday evening he received his first dose of IV Remdesvir.’
But the public were not told he was even ill until Friday at 1am, and no drug treatment was disclosed until Friday afternoon.
After Dr. Conley spoke, a White House source spoke ‘on background’ and said: ‘The Doctor meant it’s day 3, not yet 72hrs, Regeneron administered later that night (2 days ago), not 48hrs ago.’
Then in a statement Dr. Conley said Regenron was first administered on Friday – but not when. That means two doctors are now being said by the White House to have misspoken.
DO WE KNOW ALL THE PRESIDENT’S UNDERYING CONDITIONS?
We do not know if we do. The last medical report in June said he was clinically obsess but had health cholesterol, resting heart rate and blood pressure., normal kidney, liver and thyroid function, normal blood count and normal Vitamin V12 and Vitamin D levels. ,
But the White House has never explained fully his mystery trip to Walter Reed in November 2019 when Mike Pence was told to be on ‘standby’ to assume the powers of the presidency.
Since then Trump’s struggle to walk down a ramp at West Point and his strange drinking of water with two hands has been the subject of widespread speculation about cognitive issues. He has denied having ‘a series of mini-strokes’ in an angry tweet but his physician has never fully addressed the visit or his cognitive state.
Trump is at a is 74 years old and at 244lbs and 6ft 3, is technically obese which puts him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus.
Older men are at great risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 and are twice as likely to die than women of the same age, according to an analysis by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
When asked about any other risk factors Conley said Trump is overall healthy, saying his health and cholesterol are ‘great’.
DID HE GO TO ANY EVENTS WHEN DOCTORS SUSPECTED HE WAS UNWELL OR HAD BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CLINICAL SYMPTOMS OF COVID?
The White House doctors and series of statements offer no insight into when Trump first felt unwell; when anyone suspected he was unwell; when he was first tested; and if a doctor had seen clinical signs of COVID before he was nasally swabbed.
That means that Trump could have gone to any or all of a Minnesota fundraiser and rally; a White House South Lawn event; and a New Jersey fundraiser with doctors suspecting he had COVID or even having tested him for it.
HAS THE PRESIDENT EVER BEEN ON OXYGEN?
Conley sparked confusion in regards to if the president was ever on supplemental oxygen. The coronavirus affects a person’s breathing and some patients end up on ventilators.
‘He’s not needed any this morning today at all,’ he said grinning, refusing to admit if Trump was ever on oxygen.
‘Yesterday and today he is not on oxygen,’ he said.
Trumo pictured arriving at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland on Friday
About an hour later the New York Times and Associated Press reported Trump was given oxygen at the White House residence.
Two people close to the White House told the New York Times in separate interviews that Trump had trouble breathing on Friday and doctors put him on supplemental oxygen after his oxygen level dropped while he was still at the White House.
There has been no official denial or confirmation but Dr. Conley had left that possibility open. Why he would not confirm it is unknown.
Conley said, ‘all indicators are that he’ll remain off of oxygen going forward’.
WHAT TEMPERATURE DID THE PRESIDENT’S FEVER SPIKE AT?
This simple question was not answered. It is a crucial clinical indication but all Dr. Conley would say is that he has been fever-free for 24 hours. Given that the White House now disputed Dr. Conley’s use of 48 and 72 hours, even that cannot be taken as true.
On Friday Conley and White House aides said Trump was suffering from a low-grade fever.
On Saturday when asked a specific fever temperature, Conley said, ‘I’d rather not give any specific numbers but he did have a fever Thursday into Friday and since Friday morning he’s had none.’
DOES THE PRESIDENT HAVE HEART OR LUNG DAMAGE?
Conley was asked about lung damage and said: ‘We’re following all of that. We do daily ultrasounds. We do daily lab work. The team is tracking all of that.’ But that does not say if there is any damage to his lungs.’ He simply ignored a question about Trump’s heart.
DO WE KNOW EVERY DRUG OR TREATMENT HE HAS TAKEN?
The White House in two statements has detailed drugs Trump has been given.
On Friday’s afternoon it said he was given the experimental Regeneron antibody ‘cocktail’ as well as zinc, Vitamin D and the histamine-blocker famotidine.
Then late on Friday night a statement from Dr. Conley said he had been given the antiviral Remdesvir. But Dr. Conley refused to answer if Trump was on steroids. He did not say if he is on any other drugs.
Trump previously took hydroxychloroquine in late May and early June despite its use at the time being at best questionable and at worst risky. In June Dr. Conley said Trump takes three daily drugs: 40mg of Rosuvastatin, a statin; 1mg of finasteride, the hair-loss drug generally marketed as Propecia; and 81mg of aspirin.
Trump had asked about hydroxychloroquine in his treatment, which he famously repeatedly touted as a cure to the virus, but Conley said, ‘he’s not on it now’.
WHO IS TREATING THE PRESIDENT?
His treatment is being led by Dr. Sean Conley, who introduced other Walter Reed staff – including pulmonary specialists – on Saturday.
But the White House has not answered questions on the names of his full team. It has also not said if he or Dr. Conley have consulted other doctors on the coronavirus task force including Dr. Tony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, both renowned specialists. And it has not said if he has consulted Dr. Scott Atlas the controversial member of the taskforce who has spoken in favor of ‘herd immunity’ and minimized the importance of masks, and been called an ‘outlier’ who gives ‘bad information’ by Dr. Fauci.
His treatment is being led by Dr. Sean Conley (center), who introduced other Walter Reed staff – including pulmonary specialists – on Saturday
Also unaddressed is whether Dr. Conley has reached out to Admiral Ronny Jackson, Trump’s last White House doctor. He quit after his nomination to run Veterans Affairs was withdrawn and an investigation opened into whether he was drunk on the job and gave out prescription drugs to staffers, earning the nickname ‘Candyman.’ He had previously claimed the president could ‘live to 200.
On Friday he tweeted that the president was ‘asymptomatic’ which quickly became plainly untrue. He is running for Congress as a Republican and it is unclear if he retains a medical registration
IS THE PRESIDENT’S DOCTOR OVERWORKED?
Given that we do not know exactly who was treating the president in the White House, we do not know if Dr. Conley has had adequate sleep, or adequate backup.
He has been dealing with an escalating crisis since at least Thursday morning when Hicks tested positive but possibly for longer – and we do not know how long, given his changing version of events. White House staff are working around the clock and on Friday when Trump got on Marine One appeared both shellshocked and exhausted. But Dr. Conley went with him to Walter Reed, and it is unclear if he was relieved by other doctors or has worked around the clock. Dr. Conley however is a commander in the Navy and would be expected to be aided by multiple specialists to perform his task.
Doctors are trained not to become over-tired and to recognize the need to get rest. His superior officers would emphasize that to him and at Walter Reed, Trump could have been attended by specialists who could take over to let Dr. Conley rest – but we do not know if that happened.
HAS ANY CONTACT TRACING BEEN DONE BY THE WHITE HOUSE IN ANY FORM?
The White House medical unit in conjunction with the CDC and local health departments are conducting contact tracing.
On Friday, more than 24 hours after the New Jersey fundraiser ended, contact tracers in the state had not been given a complete list of everyone who attended the event.
The Trump campaign emailed all of those supporters who attended the roundtable event to alert them about Trump’s positive COVID-19 result
The Republican National Committee sent the names of those it knew had attended the event to Governor Phil Murphy’s office at 2:30pm.
However, the list may not include people who were working at the event including golf club workers and outsider vendors that were brought in to help stage the event.
HAS THE PRESIDENT OR ANYONE ELSE ORDERED DOCTORS NOT TO BE FULLY TRANSPARENT – AND DID DR. CONLEY WRITE HIS OWN STATEMENT?
This is simply unknown. Dr. Conley has never before spoken to reporters, and read initially from a prepared statement.
He has had lengthy time with the president and as a patient, the president has veto over any aspect of revealing his medical information, such as when and how he was diagnosed, his use of oxygen and his maximum temperature. Also present at Walter Reed is Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff. He does not formally control Dr. Conley who is in the military chain of command, but is a member of the Cabinet and would be seen as having authority to act on the president’s behalf to control the release of information.
IF THE PRESIDENT IS TWEETING IS THAT A GOOD SIGN?
Multiple people can access Trump’s twitter account, but it is principally run by Dan Scavino, his director of social media. Under CDC guidelines Scavino should be self-quarantining after extensive contact with Trump and Hicks although it is unknown if he is. Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, hinted Friday that Trump was not in control of his account when he said that ‘we decided to put out that tweet’ of the 1am Friday tweet saying: Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’ So a tweet Saturday from Trump cannot be taken as proving he is well, or disproving that he is unwell.