Per the USA TODAY
Trump’s video came as the White House has sent mixed messages about the president’s health as he remains treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed hospital.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said he is “starting to feel good” and is “doing well” in a video he posted to Twitter on Saturday as the White House came under fire for offering mixed messages on the status of his fight with the coronavirus.
Wearing a blue blazer and white shirt and speaking directly to the camera, Trump said that when he arrived at Walter Reed Medical Center he “wasn’t feeling so well” but said he felt “much better now. We’re working hard to get me all the way back.”
“I think I’ll be back soon,” Trump said. “And I look forward to finishing up the campaign, the way it was started.”
In the four-minute video, his first appearance since an 18-second video recorded a day earlier in the White House, Trump acknowledged that “the real test” would come over the “next period of a few days,” and he did not discuss specific symptoms or prognosis.
“I think we’re going to have a very good result,” Trump said. “Again over the next few days we’re going to probably know for sure.”
Trump was sitting, hands folded, at wood table covered with folders and a dark binder with the presidential seal. Two flags were placed behind him. He thanked world leaders for offering their “condolences,” adding that “they know what we’re going through.”
The president said he was given an option to “stay in the White House” as long as he remained in the residence, suggesting it would have meant a more limited schedule. It was not clear why the hospital gave him more freedom to, as he said, “be out front.”
Trump announced he tested positive for coronavirus early Friday morning.
The video came as the White House has struggled to offer a consistent message about the president’s condition. White House physician Sean Conley said Saturday that Trump had improved but White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the Associated Press later in the day that his condition heading into the hospital was “very concerning.”
Trump himself has remained uncharacteristically out of view since announcing the diagnosis, offering a few tweets. He was last seen in person on Friday, walking from the White House to Marine One for the short flight to Walter Reed.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Trump’s hospitalization raises national security concerns and urged the White House to be forthcoming about Trump’s condition.
“It is extremely important to keep the public fully informed about what is happening,” Panetta said. “It is particularly critical that information about the president’s health is presented openly. The tendency is ‘don’t panic the public, don’t tell the full story.’ But I think it’s essential that the public know exactly what is going on. I really urge the White House not to pull any punches. Have the doctors stand up and make very clear news with regards to the president’s heath. It is the public’s business to know what’s going on.”
Some Americans are so distrustful of the president that they believe he is faking his diagnosis in order to boost his reelection bid and distract from his lack of censure of white supremacists at the debate but fact checkers rate it false.
Trump said in the video that first lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive this week but who was not transfers to the White House, is doing “very well.” Trump joked that the first lady, who is 50, is “slightly younger than me, just a little, tiny bit” and therefore was “handling it, statistically, like it’s supposed to be handled.
“And that makes me very happy,” he said.
Trump turned 74 in June, putting him at five-times higher risk of hospitalization and 90-times higher risk of death than someone in their 20s, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The President’s weight-to-height ratio bumps him just over the boundaries of what’s considered obese, putting him at three-times higher risk of a serious infection compared to someone at a healthier weight, according to the CDC.
Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook, Karen Weintraub