(Mark Meadows attribution added) UPDATE: Just minutes after President Donald Trump’s physician presented a relatively rosy picture of his COVID-19 condition, a source familiar with the president’s health gave a much more concerning picture.
“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,” the source said in the statement, which was sent to members of the White House pool.
In point of fact that source is White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. In a rookie move at best, the ex-Congressman was captured on camera earlier today walking over to reporters right after the doctors’ press conference and asking to be “off the record.”
UPDATE: Immediately after the press conference ended and before the anonymous statement was sent out, Mark Meadows briefed reporters without cameras—but he was caught on a feed asking to be off the record. pic.twitter.com/JyrhSmu1Y0
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) October 3, 2020
Additionally, the New York Times and the AP is reporting that sources tells them Trump was given “supplemental oxygen” at the White House on Friday before being choppered over to Walter Reed Medical Center later that day. The question of oxygen being administered was deflected by Dr. Sean Conley during the brief presser in front of Walter Reed this morning.
The latest head spinning near 180-degree turn comes as former New Jersey Governor and Trump confidante Chris Christine also revealed he had tested positive with the coronavirus. Gov. Christie had been deeply involved in Trump’s prep for the first Presidential debate and had traveled on Air Force One to Cleveland for that event.
In further acknowledgement of how far literally and figuratively the spread of the virus is effecting Washington DC. Now that Sen. Ron Johnson (R- Wis) has become the third GOP member of the body to contract COVID-19, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has had to confront some political and mathematical realities. With the Republican majority of 53 hobbled by the temporary loss of Johnson as well as Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), McConnell had put the business of the Senate on hold, sort of.
“On Monday, I intend to obtain a consent agreement for the Senate to meet in pro forma sessions for the next two weeks,” the Kentucky Senator’s office said Saturday. “Previously-scheduled floor activity will be rescheduled until after October 19th.”
At this point while the full Senate won’t meet, the effort to push through the SCOTUS conformation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett won’t stop, at least for now.
“The important work of the Senate’s committees can and will continue as each committee sees fit,” McConnell said today “The Senate Judiciary Committee will convene on October 12th as Chairman Graham has scheduled to begin confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The Senate’s floor schedule will not interrupt the thorough, fair, and historically supported confirmation process previously laid out by Chairman Graham.”
As it becomes more and more likely that the September 26 Rose Garden event for Barrett’s nomination was the superspreader that is taking more and more members of the GOP elite into quarantine, McConnell could be dealt a hand of even fewer active members soon.
PREVIOUSLY: President Donald Trump’s physician said that he has been “doing very well,” and was not on supplemental oxygen at the present time.
But Dr. Sean Conley, appearing with a team of physicians treating the president, still left some questions as to the timeline of when Trump last tested negative and when he first learned that he tested positive.
Conley said that it was 72 hours since Trump’s diagnosis, but Trump revealed that he tested positive around 1 AM ET on Friday morning, less than two days ago.
If Trump was diagnosed earlier than was revealed, it raises concerns on whether he continued to maintain an active schedule of travel and campaign appearances. That included a trip to Minnesota on Wednesday evening. Already there are questions of why Trump forward with a trip to Bedminster, NJ, for a fundraiser on Thursday afternoon, after White House officials had already learned that one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, had tested positive.
Conley put forth a positive message about the president’s recovery, but would not say how long Trump would remain at Walter National Military Medical Center, where he was taken early on Friday evening.
“We are monitoring him very closely for any evidence of complications,” Conley told reporters at the Bethesda facility.
Conley said that Trump was not on oxygen, but pressed by reporters, the doctor was a bit opaque on the question of whether the president had been on any kind of assisted breathing device since he was diagnosed.
Donley said that Trump had a mild cough and nasal congestion but was “improving” and in “exceptionally good spirits.” As Conley revealed on Friday, Trump is being treated with the antiviral drug Remdesivir.
Conley said that the president has been fever free for over 24 hours and that they “remain cautiously optimistic.” He said that he had a fever Thursday into Friday, but Conley would not say exactly what his temperature was.