President Trump, receiving the world’s best treatment and care at the presidential suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, was itching to be seen and see his supporters. As one source said the President was growing increasingly “desperate to leave his suite.”
And that’s exactly what the President did.
At 5:16 PM the President tweeted a video to his followers and the world saying he had a surprise for them.
And just past 5 p.m. ET, the President let his yearning for the spotlight overcome the recommended guidelines for COVID-19 patients. The President sat in the back seat of the Presidential Chevrolet Suburban waving to his supporters driving down Rockville Pike as two US Secret Service agents, dressed in medical gowns, respirator masks, and eye protection, stared stoically ahead.
In his video posted just moments before driving the streets, the President said “I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school,” and continued “This isn’t the let’s read the book school and I get it.”
But does he get it?
Besides quenching his thirst to be seen, and subdue talks of him transferring power to Vice President Mike Pence, the President put secret service in a very difficult position.
The presidential limousine is airtight. Not only is it armored to protect against bombs, ballistics, and outside attacks but the windows are sealed to not allow chemical threats either. That means regardless of the protective garments, masks, and face shields secret agents had on… they were clearly at risk.
Secret service agents riding with the President must now quarantine for 14 days.
Secret service agents have made their sentiments known.
“That should never have happened,” one current Secret Service agent who works on the presidential and first family detail said after Trump’s drive-by.
“I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around them,” the agent said and continued The frustration with how we’re treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this though. We’re not disposable.”
Another veteran Secret Service agent expressed sympathy for those around the President while acknowledging the requirements of the job.
“You can’t say no,” the agent said.
A third agent told CNN: “It was simply reckless.”
This while deputy press secretary Judd Deere said “Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including (personal protective equipment). The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”
However, Dr. James P. Phillips, who is affiliated with Walter Reed tweeted:
Medical experts and physicians said the episode appeared anything but safe.
“That Presidential SUV is not only bullet proof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” and continued “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.”
Reports say the President’s anxiety to be seen in public derives from hours and hours of television consumption regarding his health status. A health status that has not always been clear due to differing statements by White House officials and doctors.
Regardless, the President decided the viral photo-op was worth the endangerment to not only himself but those that rode in the vehicle with him.
Reports surfaced Sunday of a potential Monday discharge which would be uncharacteristically early for a COVID-19 patient.
The President remains at Walter Reed Naval Base Hospital.