Donald Trump had to be given oxygen

Donald Trump had to be given supplemental oxygen at the White House yesterday before he was moved to Walter Reed Medical Centre, and his vital signs were "very concerning".

Thankfully, his condition has improved significantly since then.

A clearer picture is emerging of the events that convinced Mr Trump to go to hospital, which appear to have been more troubling than initially revealed.

In its statement to the media yesterday, the White House stressed the move was being made "out of an abundance of caution".

"President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day," it said.

"Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days."

In a brief video message posted online, Mr Trump himself gave no hint that he was suffering from any serious symptoms.

"I'm going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out," he said.

Behind the scenes, the situation was more serious than the public realised.

Today, multiple US media outlets - including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press and ABC News - have confirmed that the President was given supplemental oxygen before he went to Walter Reed.

They also confirmed an anonymously sourced claim, reported by CNN yesterday, that Mr Trump had trouble breathing.

"Two people close to the White House said in separate interviews that the President had trouble breathing on Friday and that his oxygen level dropped, prompting his doctors to give him supplemental oxygen while at the White House and transfer him to Walter Reed, where he could be monitored with better equipment and treated more rapidly in case of trouble," Maggie Haberman reported for The New York Times.

The White House physician, Dr Sean Conley, did not mention any of that when he briefed the media on Mr Trump's condition earlier today.

Dr Conley repeatedly dodged questions from reporters who asked whether the President had received oxygen.

Adding to her reporting on Twitter, Haberman said Dr Conley had "now jeopardised his own ability to be believed by the public".

"It is in part because he is adhering to the wishes of a patient who does not want the information about yesterday disclosed, according to people briefed on what has taken place so far," she said.

 

WHITE HOUSE DOCTOR DODGES QUESTIONS

A statement Dr Conley released about an hour before the decision was made to move Mr Trump to hospital said the President was "fatigued", but did not go into detail about any other symptoms.

It did outline the specific medications Mr Trump had received, including an experimental cocktail of antibodies.

"As a precautionary measure, he received a single eight gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail. He completed the infusion without incident," Dr Conley revealed.

"In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin."

Today, for the first time since Mr Trump's diagnosis, Dr Conley held a media briefing. He spoke to reporters outside Walter Reed, along with the other doctors treating Mr Trump.

"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.

"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."

Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

But as Dr Conley fielded questions from reporters, things got a bit cagey - particularly when they asked whether Mr Trump had been given oxygen.

"He is receiving no - he has not received any supplemental oxygen?" a reporter asked.

"He is not on oxygen right now. That's right," Dr Conley replied.

"He's not received any at all?" the reporter pressed.

"He has not needed any, uh, this morning, today at all. That's right," Dr Conley said.

"At the moment, all indicators are that he will remain off oxygen going forward."

There was an interlude from that particular interrogation as the press conference moved on to other subjects, but a couple of minutes later the reporters tried again.

"Can we please (clear up) one thing. Has he ever been on supplemental oxygen?" one of them asked.

"He - right now, he is not on oxygen," Dr Conley told them.

"I understand, I know you keep saying 'right now', but should we read into that the fact he had been previously?" said the reporter.

"Yesterday and today he was not on oxygen," Dr Conley said.

"So he has not been on it during his COVID treatment?"

"He's - he's not on oxygen right now."

Not the clearest of answers, there.

Another reporter asked Dr Conley how high the President's fever had been.

"You said he's fever free now. What was his fever when he had one, sir?" they asked.

"I'd rather not give any specific numbers," said the White House physician.

"But he did have a fever Thursday into Friday, and since Friday morning, he's had none."

Asked whether Mr Trump had indeed experienced difficulty breathing, Dr Conley was emphatic.

"No. No, he has not. Never did. He had a little cough; he had the fever. More than anything, he has felt run down," he said.

He declined to say when the President had last tested negative for the virus (the White House says it does frequent testing).

And while Dr Conley acknowledged the medical team was doing daily ultrasounds and lab work to check for lung damage, he declined to "go into specifics" about the results.

After the briefing, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows spoke to pool reporters and delivered a less rosy assessment of Mr Trump's health, hinting at yesterday's events.

"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," Mr Meadows said.

 

'I FEEL MUCH BETTER NOW'

Mr Trump posted an upbeat message online today, telling Americans he "wasn't feeling so well" when he went to hospital, but his condition had improved since.

"I came here, wasn't feeling so well. I feel much better now. We're working hard to get me all the way back," Mr Trump said.

"I just want to tell you that I'm starting to feel good. If you don't know, over the next period of a few days, that's the real test. So we'll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days.

"So that's where it is. I'm doing well, I want to thank everybody."


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