Sunday afternoon, Donald Trump rode past a crowd of flag-waving supporters and waved through a closed SUV window. He was wearing a mask, and, in the front seat, two Secret Service agents were wearing eye-coverings and respirators.
Notably, Donald Trump is currently battling a COVID-19 infection, so sharing a sealed, presidential SUV with Secret Service agents is a surefire way to risk infection.
On Twitter, doctors from Walter Reed excoriated the president’s behavior as reckless. “Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die,” Dr. James Phillips wrote in a tweet.
“For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
Trump has sought to downplay the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic since it began earlier this year. In interviews with Bob Woodward in February and March, Trump admitted to trying to keep the virus’s severity from the public so as to not spook investors.
In fact, when news of Trump contracting COVID broke, stock prices plummeted. Now, it seems, Trump is trying to downplay his own battle with COVID.
“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” Dr. Phillips pointed out in another tweet. “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.”
Secret Service agents have privately grumbled about their treatment by Trump during the pandemic. Some have anonymously told confidants that they feel like the president doesn’t acknowledge their safety. For instance, Secret Service agents are no longer tested for coronavirus after functioning as security during Trump’s in-person rallies.
Confusing, conflicting reports about Trump’s health over the weekend made it difficult to ascertain exactly how Trump was doing. However, Sunday evening doctors suggested Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed as early as Monday.
If Trump truly does have a speedy recovery from the virus, it could greatly ease the anxiety many global markets are experiencing.
Following this news, and Trump’s SUV drive-by, stocks gradually raised on Monday. However, it is still uncertain if Trump’s recovery will truly by that speedy.
COVID-19 has sickened millions of people and killed over a million worldwide. Trump falls squarely within the demographic most at-risk for the disease. For now, only time will tell how the president fares with the disease.