WASHINGTON – President Trump is telling Americans they need not be afraid of catching the viral disease that has killed more than 212,000 U.S. citizens.
His advice came recently after returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he had been given virus-killing treatments, among other drugs. His stay at the hospital was interrupted on Sunday, at his insistence, by a brief drive-by outing to wave to well-wishers.
At Walter Reed, Trump was pumped full of virus-eating antibodies, steroids to reduce inflammation and fever, and other rejuvenating compounds that he said made him feel like a youngster again.
Upon his return to the West Wing, Trump was photographed standing on the White House balcony, removing his mask before heading inside.
That photograph was slapped on the front page of The Washington Post, above the fold, reminding its readers that at least nine White House officials have tested positive for the coronavirus. That total dangerously increased further on Monday to include press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
His doctors sent him home with instructions about how the virus-infected president could be managed safely without infecting more members of his staff, but with this ominous proviso from doctor Dr. Sean Conley: The president’s illness was improving, but he still wasn’t “out of the woods yet.”
At the top of the list of precautions was “wear your mask” to keep from infecting those around him. But somehow Trump has never quite understood that a mask is worn, first and foremost, to protect others. And if he did, he didn’t care.
The Post’s headline said all anyone needed to know about Trump’s chronic self-absorption: “Back home, president resists basic precautions.”
Some medical experts have maintained that the steroids Trump has been taking may be clouding his judgment.
Less than 24 hours after being released from the hospital, Trump ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to break off negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for an economic relief bill to boost job creation and economic growth. Trump charged that Pelosi was not negotiating in good faith after rejecting the secretary’s opening bid.
Trump’s move and timing made no sense, because Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell had given a speech a few hours earlier, saying that more economic stimulus was needed to boost the economy.
Trump’s orders to Mnuchin sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 376 points. Just hours later, Trump reversed course and indicated on Twitter that he would sign a stimulus-check relief bill, if one were passed.
Pelosi told Democratic lawmakers that she suspected the president’s sudden change in his position could be the result of the steroids he was given at the hospital.
“Believe me, there are people who thought, who think that steroids have an impact on your thinking,” Pelosi told Democrats this week.