Trump’s drive-by photo-op amid COVID treatment slammed
“President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. “Appropriate measures” had been taken, he added.
But experts pointed out that the outing broke his own government’s public health guidelines requiring patients to isolate while they are in treatment and still shedding virus – and endangered his Secret Service protection.
The US president has been criticised over his handling of the coronavirus crisis that has left nearly 210,000 Americans dead, the highest death toll anywhere in the world.
Trump, who has been repeatedly rebuked for flouting public health guidelines, said in a video that dropped on Twitter just before the appearance that he had “learned a lot about COVID” by “really going to school” as he has battled the virus.
“This is the real school. This isn’t the ‘let’s read the books school,’ and I get it, and I understand it, and it’s a very interesting thing,” he added.
Health experts criticised the “stunt,” which they said demonstrated that he had learned nothing at all.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” said James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University.
“They might get sick. They may die. For political theatre. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theatre. This is insanity,” said Phillips, who is also an attending physician at Walter Reed military hospital near Washington, DC.