Trump emerged from the White House residence at 6:16 p.m. ET when he announced 16 hours earlier that he had tested positive for coronavirus. He walked to his waiting helicopter on his own and showed no major outward signs of illness.
Trump wore a dark blue suit, blue silk tie, and dark face mask, waved to the media and gave a thumbs up, but didn’t stop talking. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, also wearing a mask, followed him aboard.
Trump landed at the hospital a short time later and greeted his military aides before getting into his limo for a short ride to the main hospital building. His hand could be seen waving as he sped past crowded media.
Upon arrival, the president posted an 18-second video on his Twitter account to reassure the American people, who are “very well”
“I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I’m very well. We’ll make sure everything goes well. The first lady is very well. So.” Thank you so much I appreciate that. I’ll never forget it. Thank you, “he said.
His optimistic attitude did not reflect the inherent gravity of the situation. Given the extensive medical facilities at the White House, it is extremely rare for a President to stay in hospital.
Trump himself is said to have been shocked after announcing he tested positive early Friday and his diagnosis has made him increasingly worried as he developed symptoms such as fever overnight, according to a person familiar with his reaction.
A Trump adviser said there was cause for concern for the president’s health.
“This is serious,” said the advisor. The advisor described Trump as very tired, very tired and having difficulty breathing.
A source familiar with the situation said White House officials had serious concerns about Trump’s health, and a senior government official told CNN that Trump was “okay for now, but we fear things can change quickly”.
A third source said the president’s condition was worse than First Lady Melania Trump’s.
Still, there was no transfer of power to Vice President Mike Pence, said White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah. “The president is responsible,” she said.
A White House official said Friday night there was no need for the public to be concerned about Trump’s condition.
The official admitted that Trump is dealing with some symptoms of the virus and is “tired”. However, according to the official, the president’s condition is not deteriorating. The official said there are plans to keep the public informed about Trump’s health in the coming days.
The president takes the situation “very seriously,” the official added.
The White House had continued to insist that the President “stay in good spirits, have mild symptoms and work all day” in the hours leading up to his trip to Walter Reed.
“Out of caution and on the recommendation of his doctor and his medical experts, the president will be working in the offices of the president of Walter Reed for the next few days,” said press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “President Trump appreciates the support for both him and the first lady.”
An administrative officer said Pence was working from his home at the Naval Observatory and was still in good health.
Taking Regeneron Antibody Cocktail
Trump has had a fever since Friday morning, said a person familiar with the matter, although an official said the fever was in line with the White House’s description of “mild symptoms.”
In the early afternoon, Trump’s doctor wrote in a memo that he was “tired but in good spirits”.
“It will be evaluated by a team of experts and together we will provide recommendations to the President and First Lady on the best next steps,” wrote Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley.
He said Trump was given a Regeneron polyclonal antibody cocktail and ingested zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin, and a daily aspirin.
The decision to give Trump an experimental monoclonal antibody cocktail shows how concerned the White House may be with its Covid-19 diagnosis, said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN medical analyst and professor at George Washington University, told CNN on Friday.
“The big news there is that he got an experimental drug. He got a drug that wasn’t FDA approved,” said Reiner, who treated former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The memo also said that Melania Trump stays healthy with only a mild cough and headache, and the rest of the first family is healthy and has tested negative.
The president announced early on Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for coronavirus.
The development threw the country’s leadership into turmoil and added uncertainty to the evolving presidential race.
Just before news came that Trump was going to Walter Reed, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he had been exposed to negative advertising for the time being.
The Gang of Eight – senior congressmen and senior lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees – were not informed of Trump’s health, according to two known sources.
The group is typically briefed on intelligence and national security issues, the sources add.
Two officials from two previous administrations tell CNN that the “presidential offices” consist of a series of rooms on Walter Reed’s sprawling campus, including a living room, a conference room and a hospital bedroom.
But the officials, a Democrat and a Republican, both said they noticed the statement in McEnany’s statement as curious. Not only are the offices intended for president use only, but the office suite is a place that presidents can go while they are on the medical campus.
This story has been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Jim Acosta and Vivian Salama contributed to this report.