Trump leaves hospital suite for photo op drive-by in motorcade amid crowds of supporters

Surprise for supporters draws criticism that president may have exposed more people to the virus 

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Monday 05 October 2020 01:17
Donald Trump leaves hospital to drive past supporters during coronavirus treatment
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Donald Trump left Walter Reed Medical Centre for a photo op on Sunday evening , driving by his supporters lining the street outside in a slow-moving motorcade.

Seconds before he appeared, the president posted a new video to Twitter in which he praised the medical staff and promised a surprise for the crowd who had gathered outside the hospital in Maryland, where he was admitted on Friday to be treated for the coronavirus. 

The president, wearing what appeared to be a cloth mask, was then seen in the back of a slow-moving black SUV, waving to the assembled crowds.

Trump supporters began assembling on Friday evening and have grown in number over the weekend.

Many were carrying Trump 2020 banner and MAGA signs, as well as Stars and Stripes and Blue Lives Matter flags.

The motorcade, which was also flanked by Secret Service agents on foot, then returned to the hospital. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere said: "President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed."

Pool reporters were not informed ahead of time and were not called back to the White House nor Walter Reed.

The president’s medical condition has been the subject of debate for two days now, with conflicting information from administration sources and the medical team at Walter Reed. 

Donald Trump says he will visit supporters despite coronavirus infection

Earlier on Sunday it was announced that he could be discharged from hospital as soon as Monday, though medical practitioners interviewed by the networks remain sceptical given the treatments the president is receiving. 

Concern was voiced by some on Twitter for the Secret Service agents and driver who would have travelled in the car with Mr Trump. One doctor branded the stunt “insanity”.

In the video released before the drive-by, Mr Trump said: “It’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about Covid. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the ‘let’s read the book’ school. And I get it. And I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing.”

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