- A Walter Reed doctor accused Trump of putting the lives of his secret service agents at risk for the ‘political theater’ of a drive-by outside the hospital.
- Dr. James P. Phillips said it was “insanity” that endangered the lives of Secret Service agents.
- Trump was filmed waving at supporters from a car he was sharing with security personnel while leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
- Dr. James P. Phillips tweeted: “They might get sick. They may die. For political theater.”
- The president said the drive-by was a “little surprise visit to some of the patriots we have out on the street.”
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Trump has been accused by a doctor at the Walter Reed medical facility of putting the lives of Secret Service agents at risk for “political theater” after the president surprised supporters with a public drive-by on Sunday.
Dr. James Phillips, MD, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the George Washington University and an attending physician at Walter Reed where Trump stayed over the weekend, said “the irresponsibility is astounding” in tweets lambasting the president for sharing a car with Secret Service agents while still infected with the coronavirus.
Trump was filmed leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the back of a black car on Sunday evening after being admitted there for treatment for the coronavirus on Friday.
Suited and wearing a mask, the president waved at cheering supporters on the street in what he described in a video statement posted on Twitter as a “little surprise visit to some of the patriots we have out on the street.”
Dr. James P. Phillips said “this is insanity” and pointed out that the security personnel in the car in Trump had been exposed to the virus and would have to quarantine for two weeks as per national instructions.
He tweeted: “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. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
In a second tweet he wrote: “That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. 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.”
Another doctor, Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University school of medicine and health services, added in a tweet that: “By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk.”
Reiner added: “In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere said the drive had been “cleared by the medical team as safe,” the Guardian reported, adding that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE.”
In his video statement, Trump described his coronavirus infection as a “very interesting journey” during which he “learned a lot” about the illness having previously downplayed its seriousness. He was taken to Walter Reed military hospital on Friday shortly after it was made public that he had tested positive for the virus.
Trump said: “I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the ‘let’s read the book’ school. I get it, and I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing, and I’m going to be letting you know about it.”
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