Donald Trump, who has been hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for COVID-19, decided it would be a good idea to go out on Sunday afternoon for a short car ride to greet his supporters.
Video shows a masked Trump inside an SUV waving and giving a thumbs up to people who gathered close to the hospital.
Trump has gotten in a car so he can wave to supporters outside Walter Reed. As you can see from footage, this meant multiple agents riding in a car with Trump while he carries the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/FIk4CtApnu— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) October 4, 2020
Explanation from the White House: “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.” (@realDonaldTrump has COVID-19.)— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) October 4, 2020
The decision to go on a car ride and possibly risk infecting the Secret Service agents who had to accompany Trump was swiftly criticized by many. Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, took to Twitter to call out Trump for endangering the lives of Secret Service agents so that the reality television star could do a photo-op. "The irresponsibility is astounding," Dr. Phillips wrote. "My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play."
That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.— Dr. James P. Phillips, MD (@DrPhillipsMD) October 4, 2020
In addition to Trump testing positive for the coronavirus, multiple people from his circle have also contracted the disease. White house aide Hope Hicks, former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Melania Trump, and others who have had close contact with Trump have also tested positive.
In those two answers, McEnany — a taxpayer funded official — would not commit to releasing how many White House officials have tested positive and would not answer @colvinj’s question about whether Trump was tested Tuesday before the debate.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 4, 2020
Prior to going for the car ride, Trump posted a short video to Twitter in which he said he's "learned a lot about COVID" and that it's been "interesting" since testing positive for the disease that has claimed the lives of over 200,000 Americans.
"So, uh, it's been a very interesting journey," Trump said. "I learned a lot about COVID. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school, this isn't the let's read the book school... and I get it and I understand it and it's a very interesting thing and I'm going to be letting you know about it. In the meantime, we love the USA and we love what's happening."
You can read some reactions to Trump's COVID-19 car ride below.
He apparently just went back to the hospital. This son of a bitch just exposed drivers, staff etc . to COVID so he could wave. His sociopathy knows no bounds. This shows, beyond anything, why he is willing to kill people at his rally for some applause. https://t.co/vNU72waABf— Kurt "Mask Up, Vote Early" Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) October 4, 2020
Ok, let's look at the facts surrounding this joy ride:— Megan Ranney MD MPH 🗽 (@meganranney) October 4, 2020
1. He is still infectious
2. CDC guidelines require isolation for a minimum of 10 days after a + test, no matter who you are
3. Almost a dozen secret service agents have already been infected
4. The car is a closed space https://t.co/TfebDUOT5R
So he put real lives at risk for political theater? He‘s a piece of garbage. I retract my well wishes. I don’t care what happens to him now. I only care about the Secret Service agents he infected. As I said yesterday, it’s all malevolent self-dealing with him—that and only that. https://t.co/4u8riRyfTp— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) October 4, 2020
Y’all are acting like you’ve never seen a 74 year-old man with a highly communicable disease who pays $750 per year in taxes make an army of secret service agents risk their lives so he can wave at the day staff of the Owings Mills Fuddruckers before? @realDonaldTrump— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) October 4, 2020
BREAKING: Donald Trump, who has COVID-19, forces secret service to take him on a joy ride so he can waive to his supporters. He is a sociopath who will kill us all to stay in power.— A Worried Citizen (@ThePubliusUSA) October 4, 2020
TRUMP: Aye, take me (*cough*) round the block right quick (*cough*) so I can (*cough*) so I can (*cough*) so i can wave at errbody— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) October 4, 2020
SECRET SERVICE: pic.twitter.com/ipJzFFwGBn
Trump put Secret Service members’ lives at risk today for a photo op. And just like his teargas photo op at the church, he did it at taxpayer expense. https://t.co/vOgsf2ukHS— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 4, 2020
This is so outrageous. For a photo op? You put lives at risk? I'm so sorry for the secret service and I pray none get sick or worse. https://t.co/VEeG5HbuNC— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) October 4, 2020
Either Trump is risking the lives of the Secret Service agents or masks work, which is it folks?— 👸🏻Å (@LittleMsOpinion) October 4, 2020
This reckless action by @realDonaldTrump puts Secret Service and other personnel at risk for contracting #COVID19 for no good reason. One of the highest risks for transmission is being inside a small, enclosed area with a person who has Covid19. https://t.co/GB62z1mx9a— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 4, 2020
When I saw "Secret Service" trending & read first tweet on Trump's joy ride around Walter Reed, I thought, "This has got to be a joke." But nope, it's real. So massively irresponsible.— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) October 4, 2020
And another reason to question whether he is capable of making sound decisions at this time.
Intentionally risking the lives of secret service personnel for your own vanity stunt may just be a new low. https://t.co/cSz8KkFYM5— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) October 4, 2020
Well that ride around the block should silence the critics.— John Levenstein (@johnlevenstein) October 4, 2020
So the President of the United States is going to become a biological weapon? https://t.co/fopSVWgPfW— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) October 4, 2020
sending my best wishes to the Secret Service agent driving the active Covid patient in a car with the windows rolled up https://t.co/8lcQ4wtXOJ— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) October 4, 2020