President Donald Trump — who the White House said has displayed “mild symptoms” of COVID-19 following his announcement that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the disease — was taken by helicopter on Friday to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he will be hospitalized for “the next few days.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
Three people familiar with Trump’s condition told NBC News that the president was experiencing a low-grade fever. McEnany said the president was in “good spirits” and had been working “throughout the day” despite having “mild symptoms.”
Trump released a video recorded at the White House, in which he expressed gratitude for “tremendous support.”
“I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well,” he said.
Ahead of the announcement, the White House released a letter from Trump’s doctor saying the president had been injected with an experimental antibody cocktail, and has been taking vitamins, aspirin and an antacid recently demonstrated to possibly ameliorate symptoms.
The letter said the president was fatigued, while Melania had a mild cough and headache.
Presidential aides, concerned that Trump was “feeling poorly” on Wednesday, began to “worry he had the coronavirus,” according to Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs. Aides privately told The New York Times that there was concern in the executive mansion that Trump “has comorbidities that could make him more susceptible to a severe bout of the virus.”
A White House spokesperson told Salon that the president had not lapsed in his daily testing routine. Asked when Trump had specifically tested positive, the spokesperson referred Salon to the memo which Dr. Sean Conley, his physician, had released on Friday morning.
The memo reads, “This evening I received confirmation that both President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” The White House did not immediately respond when asked what previous test had been confirmed.
The president interacted with “dozens” of people on Thursday after flying to a fundraiser at his Bedminster, N.J., club, even though the White House had been notified that top aide Hope Hicks had tested positive, according to multiple reports.
Last November, Trump made a secretive and unusual visit to Walter Reed, which came under renewed scrutiny after The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt reported in a book that Vice President Mike Pence had been placed on standby in case Trump had to be anesthetized. Trump said the report was false, and he made a seemingly unprompted denial that he had experienced “mini-strokes.”
The president showed up too late to be tested at Tuesday’s debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, which was held at the Cleveland Clinic. A spokesperson for the clinic told Salon that Trump was scheduled for an advance walk-through and sound test, during which he was slated be tested. Trump did not arrive early enough.