Amidst his ongoing stay at Walter Reed Medical Center, which started after the revelation that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump has dictated a somewhat off-kilter statement to his longtime ally Rudy Giuliani. This statement has now been published in the New York Post, and in the remarks, which come from a phone conversation that Trump and Giuliani had on Saturday afternoon, Trump insisted that he couldn’t “lock himself in a room” after his diagnosis. Instead, he says, he “had to confront [the virus] so the American people stopped being afraid of it so we could deal with it responsibly.”
This is by far the most detailed (only) real statement that has come from the President of the United States since he was diagnosed and hospitalized – and it was dictated to Rudy Giuliani and published in the NY Post (?) https://t.co/9Aj51fM8kw pic.twitter.com/YrztP5fPDj
— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) October 3, 2020
Trump told Giuliani to “go tell people” that he’s “watching this coverage” indicating that his condition has been on the rocks recently. Trump suggests that the coverage is not adequately characterizing his condition. According to Giuliani, the president said:
‘I feel I could get out of here right now. But they’re telling me there can always be a backstep with this disease. But I feel I could go out and do a rally. I am the president of the United States. I can’t lock myself in a room… I had to confront [the virus] so the American people stopped being afraid of it so we could deal with it responsibly. We have made tremendous progress on treating this disease. Fatality rates are very low compared to [the beginning]. I’m going to beat this.’
Despite his characterizations, a statement emerged earlier on Saturday that some attributed to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows indicating that the president suffered through a “very concerning” period on Friday. Meadows, according to the Associated Press, added that they’re “still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery” for the president — although later, Meadows gave a brighter statement to Reuters.
Per AP: "Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said the president went through a 'very concerning' period Friday and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care." https://t.co/Pw0WvmPltp
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 3, 2020
Meanwhile, Trump reiterated his stance to Giuliani that being “afraid” was inappropriate. He said, according to Giuliani, that after he recovers:
‘Then I will be able to show people we can deal with this disease responsibly, but we shouldn’t be afraid of it. If I had handled it any other way, I would have created more panic, more fear in the American people. We are making great progress on dealing with this disease and making better progress with the economy than anyone had the right to expect.’
Dealing with the Coronavirus is not and has never been merely a matter of personal or political will. Over 200,000 Americans have died amidst the pandemic — not a single one of those people have died because they weren’t resilient or resolute enough. They died because they caught the Coronavirus, and the major stumbles that have marked the Trump administration’s own response to the virus have exacerbated this problem. It’s not a matter of political will; it’s a matter of having the crucial supplies and support, like testing and personal protective equipment, that the Trump administration failed to provide at crucial junctures of the pandemic.
On Saturday, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley held a press conference outside of Walter Reed, but it did not tamper down fears. For example, Conley refused to answer whether or not the president had ever been on supplemental oxygen during his current illness.