Trump says 'real test' lies ahead in his Covid-19 fight

Donald Trump said from his hospital room that the next few days will be the "real test" of his treatment for Covid-19, after a series of contradictory messages from the White House caused widespread confusion about his condition.

In a four-minute video posted on Twitter on Saturday from his hospital suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a tired-looking Trump said he was feeling "much better."

"Over the next period of a few days, I guess that's the real test, so we'll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days," Trump said into the camera, seated in front of an American flag and wearing a jacket and open-necked shirt.

Trump's illness has upended the campaign ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election and cast a spotlight on the president's handling of the pandemic. The Republican president is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls.

Differing assessments of Trump's health from administration officials earlier on Saturday left it unclear how ill the president had become since he tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday night.

19 PHOTOS
Trump takes on Biden in first debate
See Gallery
Trump takes on Biden in first debate
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; President Donald Trump leaves the stage after debating Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden in the first Presidential debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden debates President Donald Trump in the first Presidential debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; The streets just outside of the Cleveland debate site were quiet during the debate as only small groups of protesters numbering in the few dozens outside of where President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met during the first 2020 Presidential Debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden finish the first Presidential debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; President Donald Trump leaves the stage after debating Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden in the first Presidential debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden debates President Donald Trump in the first Presidential debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday moderates the debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden in their first Presidential debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; President Donald Trump debates Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden in the first Presidential debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; (Editors note: Vulgar language on sign) Small groups of protesters only numbering in a few dozen outside of where President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met during the first 2020 Presidential Debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
President Donald Trump walks off Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews Wednesday, September 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump returned from his first Presidential debate with Former Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Ken Cedeno/Pool/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; Final preparations are made before the first Presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden hosted by the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; RefuseFascism.org rally gathering near the debate site where President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would meet during the first 2020 Presidential Debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland. Protesters hold Black Lives Matter signs. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Final preparations take place before the first Presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. Xxx 09292020 Presdebateprep Cle 0008 Jpg A Eln Usa Oh (Photo by Meg Vogel/USA Today Network/Sipa USA)
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; Final preparations take place before the first Presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden hosted by the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel-USA TODAY/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; National Guard block intersections as security measures are put in place before President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden meet in the first 2020 Presidential Debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
United States President Donald Trump and First lady Melania Trump wave to supporters as they walk across the South Lawn to Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. Trump is traveling to participate in the First Presidential Debate against former Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Ken Cedeno/Pool/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; Final preparations take place before the first Presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden hosted by the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Meg Vogel-USA TODAY/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; Democrats hold a drive-up event at John Hay High School near where President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would meet during the first 2020 Presidential Debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, OH, USA; RefuseFascism.org rally protesters hold baby Trump balloons during a gathering near the debate site where President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would meet during the first 2020 Presidential Debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

A White House team of doctors said on Saturday morning Trump's condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House.

Within minutes, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a less rosy assessment, saying, "The president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We're still not on a clear path to a full recovery."

Meadows, whose initial comments were delivered on condition that he not be identified, altered his tone hours later, telling Reuters that Trump was doing "very well" and that "doctors are very pleased with his vital signs."

Meadows did not clarify the discrepancy in his comments. A Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president was not happy to learn of Meadows' initial remarks.

Administration officials have described the move to Walter Reed as precautionary and said Trump would stay for several days.

20 PHOTOS
Donald Trump in Nevada
See Gallery
Donald Trump in Nevada
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump arrives at McCarran International Airport September 12, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
People watch US President Donald Trump leave after a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden (50miles/80km south of Reno), Nevada on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump looks at the crowd during a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden (50miles/80km south of Reno), Nevada on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden (50miles/80km south of Reno), Nevada on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters wait for US President Donald Trump ahead of a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden (50miles/80km south of Reno), Nevada on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden (50miles/80km south of Reno), Nevada on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 12: People look on at Boulder Beach as boaters participate in a boat parade on Lake Mead in support of U.S. President Donald Trump on September 12, 2020 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. Trump is scheduled to hold two campaign events in Nevada on Sunday. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 12: Mike Houlihan (L) and Fight for Nevada President Rudy Clai, both of Nevada, react at Boulder Beach as they watch boaters participate in a boat parade on Lake Mead in support of U.S. President Donald Trump on September 12, 2020 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. Trump is scheduled to hold two campaign events in Nevada on Sunday. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 12: Boaters launch from Las Vegas Boat Harbor marina to participate in a boat parade on Lake Mead in support of U.S. President Donald Trump on September 12, 2020 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. Trump is scheduled to hold two campaign events in Nevada on Sunday. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press after arriving at Reno-Tahoe International Airport September 12, 2020, in Reno, Nevada. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on September 12, 2020. - Trump travels to Nevada and Arizona for campaign events. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on September 12, 2020. - Trump will hold a campaign rally in Minden, Nevada. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP) (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump arrives in a motorcade before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on September 12, 2020. - Trump travels to Nevada and Arizona for campaign events. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters rally against a mask mandate, many showing support for US President Donald Trump, in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 22, 2020. - "On day one" of his own presidency, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, he would implement a national COVID-19 plan and mandate mask wearing. (Photo by Bridget BENNETT / AFP) (Photo by BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP via Getty Images)
Marchers make their way down the street toward the State Capital, where a three-hour rally in support of Donald Trump and conservative values was held. September 12, 2020. A group of around 200 Trump supporters--many of them armed--marched to the Minnesota State Capital in St. Paul, MN, where they held a three-hour rally. Speakers condemned Democratic politicians and the Black Lives Matter movement, criticized Governor Tim Walz's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, denied the existence of racism, and advocated for Donald Trump to be re-elected. As marchers made their way to the capital, a group of counter protesters confronted attendees. State Patrol officers split the groups up once they reached the capital grounds, and one counter protester was eventually arrested. September 12, 2020. (Photo by Tim Evans/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Protesters rally against a mask mandate, many showing support for US President Donald Trump, in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 22, 2020. - "On day one" of his own presidency, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, he would implement a national COVID-19 plan and mandate mask wearing. (Photo by Bridget BENNETT / AFP) (Photo by BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters rally against a mask mandate, many showing support for US President Donald Trump, in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 22, 2020. - "On day one" of his own presidency, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, he would implement a national COVID-19 plan and mandate mask wearing. (Photo by Bridget BENNETT / AFP) (Photo by BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters rally against a mask mandate, many showing support for US President Donald Trump, in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 22, 2020. - "On day one" of his own presidency, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, he would implement a national COVID-19 plan and mandate mask wearing. (Photo by Bridget BENNETT / AFP) (Photo by BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden (50miles/80km south of Reno), Nevada on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters listen to US President Donald Trump speak during a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden (50miles/80km south of Reno), Nevada on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Another source who was briefed on Trump's condition said the president was given supplemental oxygen before he went to the hospital. The decision to hospitalize Trump came after he had experienced difficulty breathing and his oxygen level dropped, according to a source familiar with the situation.

White House doctor Sean P. Conley told reporters outside the hospital on Saturday that Trump had not had trouble breathing, and was not given oxygen at Walter Reed.

"The team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made," Conley said.

He declined to give a timetable for Trump's possible release from the hospital, and later had to issue a statement saying he misspoke after appearing to suggest Trump had been diagnosed as early as Wednesday.

In a statement on Saturday evening, Conley said the president was "not yet out of the woods" but his team remained cautiously optimistic.

"Today's spectacle - doctors saying one thing, White House sources saying another thing, and both later amending their statements - only reinforces the credibility problems of this administration," said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

CAMPAIGN RESHAPED

With Trump off the campaign trail indefinitely, his campaign announced "Operation MAGA," based on his slogan "Make America Great Again", which will see high-profile allies including Vice President Mike Pence and Trump's elder sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, take over in-person campaigning this week.

Pence, who tested negative on Friday, is scheduled to debate Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Wednesday.

Biden, who largely avoided direct criticism of Trump during a campaign trip to Michigan on Friday, took a more aggressive tone on Saturday while speaking to a transit workers' union, even as he wished the president well.

"I'm in a little bit of a spot here, because I don't want to be attacking the president and the first lady now," Biden said, adding he hoped Trump and his wife Melania, who also has the illness, make a full recovery.

But he quickly turned to Trump's response to the pandemic, calling it "unconscionable" and blasting Trump's comment in an interview this summer that "it is what it is" when asked about the death toll.

"I find this one of the most despicable things that I've encountered in my whole career," Biden said.

Trump has repeatedly played down the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, even as it has killed more than 208,000 Americans and hammered the US economy.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself was seriously ill with Covid-19 earlier this year, said on Sunday he was sure Trump would be fine.

"He's got the best possible care... He just needs, I mean, the most important thing to do is to follow his doctors' advice, he's got superb medical advice," Johnson said during an interview on BBC television.

Biden, who tested negative on Friday, told reporters he would next be tested on Sunday. His campaign will begin releasing the results of each test, a spokesman said.

Conley said Trump had received the first two doses of a five-day course of Remdesivir, an intravenous antiviral drug sold by Gilead Sciences Inc that has been shown to shorten hospital stays.

He is also taking an experimental treatment, Regeneron's REGN-COV2, as well as zinc, Vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin, Conley has said.

A number of other prominent Republicans have also tested positive for coronavirus since Trump's announcement, including Republican senators Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson, former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS