WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump returned to the White House Monday evening following a stay at Water Reed National Military Medical Center for a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.
Anxious to project strength just four weeks from Election Day, Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he is planning to attend next week’s debate with Democrat Joe Biden in Miami. “It will be great!” he said.
In a letter, Trump’s doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said Trump had a “restful” night at the White House and that on Tuesday “he reports no symptoms.” On Monday afternoon, shortly before his departure from Walter Reed, Conley offered that the president would not be fully “out of the woods” for another week.
Trump returned to the White House Monday night aboard Marine One, climbing the South Portico steps and giving a double thumbs-up from the terrace, where aides had arranged American flags for the sunset occasion.
In a video released later, Trump said, “Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment; we have the best medicines.”
On Tuesday, Trump also returned to his previous comparisons of COVID-19 to the seasonal flu.
“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” he tweeted. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
Joe Biden said during an NBC town hall Monday night that he was glad Trump seemed to be recovering well, “but there’s a lot to be concerned about — 210,000 people have died. I hope no one walks away with the message that it’s not a problem.” Biden tested negative for the virus on Sunday.
Biden said he’d “listen to the science” ahead of the upcoming debates, adding that the campaigns and the debate commission should be “very cautious” in making plans. “If scientists say that it’s safe, that distances are safe, then I think that’s fine,” he said. “I’ll do whatever the experts say.”
Conley repeatedly declined to share results of medical scans of Trump’s lungs, saying he was not at liberty to discuss the information because Trump did not waive doctor-patient confidentiality on the subject. At the hospital, doctors revealed that his blood oxygen level had dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick.
On Tuesday, Conley did not share details on the president’s medications. He was set to receive the fifth and final dose of the antiviral remdesivir Tuesday at the White House.
Vice President Mike Pence returned to the campaign trail moments after Trump announced he would soon leave the hospital. The vice president boarded Air Force Two to fly to Salt Lake City, where he is to face off against Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday.