06 Oct 2020
U.S. President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Monday and caused controversy after taking off his face mask for photos – whilst still being ill with the coronavirus and standing close to his staff.
As he looked over the Marina One as they took off from the south lawn, Trump waved, saluted and gave two thumbs up to those who watched. On video, it seemed like the president struggled to breathe as it looked like he was breathing hard.
Trump had stayed at the military hospital for three days after testing positive for the coronavirus. After arriving back at the White House by a Marina One helicopter, Trump took off his mask to pose for cameras. He waved and walked inside and soon after walked back outside for a film shoot.
“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re gonna beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently,” Trump said in a video address to the public, which was posted on Twitter.
“Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. And I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger, but that’s OK. And now I’m better and maybe I’m immune – I don’t know! But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there. Be careful.”
The president was criticised for his actions, with Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress think tank saying, “I could not imagine a greater act of selfishness by a human being, let alone the president of the United States, who is supposed to protect us. He’s doing the opposite, he’s endangering people around him.”
In a tweet, Trump stated, “We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
Despite being sent home, Trump could see a “reversal” is his progress, Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert and White House Coronavirus Task Force member pointed out. “I’m not involved in his primary care. But the issue is that he’s still early enough in the disease that it’s no secret that if you look at the clinical course of people sometimes, when you’re five to eight days in, you can have a reversal.”