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Contradictory statements about President Donald Trump’s health triggered a wave of confusion over the president’s health Saturday, leading many to believe Trump’s condition was more serious than what was being said publicly.
But the president seemed to put any confusion to rest Saturday afternoon.
What are the details?
Shortly before noon Saturday, Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, briefed reporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump was taken Friday out of an abundance of caution. Conley told reporters that Trump was doing “very well” and that many of the COVID symptoms that he previously exhibited had already dissipated.
Chaos erupted minutes after the press conference when the White House pool reported comments from someone close to the White House contradicting what Conley had just told media.
The source reportedly said, “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 report came just minutes after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was captured on video talking with the pool reporters, asking them to speak off the record.
Conley’s press conference — during which he was accused of not answering reporters’ questions directly — also sparked confusion.
More from Politico:
Conley and Trump’s medical team also sent shockwaves through the White House and political landscape with their timeline of Trump’s first positive coronavirus test. During the briefing, Conley said it had been 72 hours since Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19, suggesting Trump knew about his status on Wednesday, well before he revealed it overnight Thursday into Friday. That would mean Trump had gone on with his normal schedule, traveling and working in close proximity to aides and staffers, for well over a full day.
Yet again, though, the White House scrambled minutes after the briefing to clarify the timeline from the medical team. Another White House aide said the doctor had meant to say “day 3” instead of “72 hours,” since Trump had been diagnosed Thursday night. Conley made the clarification official a few hours later, releasing what amounted to the fourth statement of the day from the White House.
What did Trump say?
Hours after the confusion began, Trump tweeted that he was “feeling well.”
“Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!” Trump said.
Later in the day, Trump dictated a statement through Rudy Giuliani, the New York Post reported.
In that statement, Trump was upbeat and said he felt well enough to immediately leave the hospital.
“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,” Trump said. “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],” he continued.
“I’m going to beat this,” Trump reportedly said. “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,” Trump added. “We are making great progress on dealing with this disease and making better progress with the economy than anyone had the right to expect.”