Melania Trump reportedly refused to leave Covid-19 isolation in order to keep from infecting Secret Service agents

The first lady said on Monday she would continue to rest at home as she recovered 

Justin Vallejo
New York
Monday 05 October 2020 18:35 BST
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows responds to Trump's hospital drive by

Melania Trump did not visit the president in hospital because she didn't want to expose Secret Service agents to the risk of coronavirus, according to reports.

Quoting an anonymous White House official, NBC News reported the first lady remained in isolation on the weekend over concerns of spreading the Covid-19 infection.

"She has Covid," the official told NBC News on Saturday. "That would expose the agents who would drive her there and the medical staff who would walk her up to him."

Ms Trump tweeted her support for medical staff and caretakers on Monday morning as she gave an update on her condition, saying she will continue to rest at home.

Her husband has come under criticism for doing a drive-by of supporters outside Walter Reed Medical Centre on Sunday, which began when an attending physician at the hospital called it "insanity" for putting Secret Service agents at risk.

"They might get sick. They may die. For political theatre. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theatre," wrote Dr James Phillips, who is also a CNN contributor.

The Trump administration both played down the significance of the risk on Monday, while also saying that risk is what Secret Service agents signed up for.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Fox & Friends that the agents were wearing more personal protective equipment that usual and people were just trying to make a "bid deal" out of it.

"Well, the Secret Service agent, how do we think that he got here? I mean, we came here in Marine 1, the Secret Service agent is with him, has been with him, he's been with him in cars, and yet we took additional precautions with PPE and others, to make sure that they were protected," Mr Meadows said.

Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, meanwhile, said on NBC's Today that the detail leader of the Secret Service and the driver both volunteered for the assignment.

"They have very difficult jobs but they were not required to do that, they both volunteered. There was a piece of plexiglass, I believe, between the president and the two secret service agents in the vehicle," he said.

CNN, however, reported comments from an anonymous Secret Service agents saying "that should never have happened" and that it was "simply reckless".

"The frustration with how we're treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this though. We're not disposable," the agent reportedly said.

Neither the Secret Service nor the East Wing immediately responded to requests for comment.  

The president, meanwhile, mentioned Ms Trump in the video message he tweeted out before the hospital drive-by on Sunday, saying she's doing "very well".

"Melania asked me to say something as to the respect that she has for our country, the love that she has for our country, and we're both doing well. Melania is really handling it very nicely, as you've probably read she's slightly younger than me, just a little tiny bit," Mr Trump said.

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