Live updates: President Trump tells supporters in video message, 'Don't be afraid'

Posted at 6:33 AM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 00:52:48-04

President Donald Trump's condition is continuing to improve as he fights a coronavirus infection, doctors said, and he left Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening, landing at the White House shortly before 7 p.m.

Doctors also reported that Trump, over the course of exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, had earlier experienced two episodes of "transient drops" in his oxygen saturation.

Yet the president was feeling well enough Sunday evening to briefly leave Walter Reed for a surprise drive-by, waving to supporters outside the hospital.


Administration member Judd Deere subsequently put out a statement saying that, "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."

Meanwhile, numerous questions remain about how many people at the highest levels of government had been exposed to the virus after a week of events involving the president where social distancing and mask-wearing were lax in the White House and elsewhere.


8:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump has tweeted a new video taped after he returned to the White House in which he tells the American public not to be afraid of COVID-19, which has killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S. and more than a million worldwide.

In message that is sure to infuriate medical doctors trying to keep the country safe, Trump says he has “learned so much” about the virus he contracted. And he says: “Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives.”

Trump was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by a team of some of the country’s best doctors and he received an experimental drug not readily available to the public.

Nonetheless, he told his followers who do not have access to the same level of care that they had little to fear.

“Don’t be afraid of it,” he said. “You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines.”

Trump also again defended his decision to continue traveling and holding events before he got sick, saying he “knew there’s danger to it, but I had to it. I stood out front. I led.”


7 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he feels “good” as he arrives back at the White House after three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was being treated for COVID-19.

Marine One landed at the White House just before 7 p.m. Monday just as the sun was setting.

He then walked upstairs to the South Portico balcony, took off his mask and stuffed it in his pocket, and flashed a double thumbs-up to the cameras. He saluted as he watched the helicopter lift back off. He walked into the White House without putting his mask back on.

Trump’s doctors said he would continue his recovery from the White House, where he will be cared for 24/7 by a team of doctors and nurses. His doctor says he's still contagious.

Trump walked out the golden front doors of Walter Reed earlier Monday and offered a thumbs-up and fist bump before he stepped into an SUV that carried him to the helicopter. Lights had been set up to illuminate the scene for cameras.


6:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump pumped his fist as he departed a military hospital after a three-day stay for the coronavirus.

A masked Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening toward a waiting SUV that carried him to Marine One for the short flight back to the White House. He said, “Thank you very much,” to the assembled reporters.

Even before he walked out the doors, he tweeted that he'd be back on the campaign trail soon.

The 74-year-old Trump was expected to continue his recovery at the White House, where he will be cared for around-the-clock by a team of doctors and nurses. He announced his coronavirus diagnosis early Friday.

His doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, told reporters earlier Monday that Trump remains contagious.

His return comes as the White House is still learning the extent of the outbreak that has sickened over a dozen close contacts of the president over the last week.

President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he returns to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

5:04 pm

Trump still plans to attend next week's presidential debate: Campaign

Following the announcement that Trump is planning to leave Walter Reed Medical Center and return to the White House Monday evening, the Trump campaign has confirmed that the president still plans to attend the next presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, despite his currently battling COVID-19.

"Yes. It is the president’s intention to debate," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told ABC News Monday afternoon.

The debate is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15 in Miami -- two weeks from when the president first reported testing positive for the coronavirus.

Earlier on Monday at a briefing outside Walter Reed, the president's physician Dr. Sean Conley was asked about Trump's potential return to the campaign trail.

He said, “As far as travel goes, we will see.”

4:57 pm
White House making workspace changes for Trump's return

The White House is preparing the Map Room and Diplomatic Reception Room as a remote working space for the president, a senior administration official told ABC News. These rooms are in the residence.

The news was first reported by Politico.

3:56 pm

Trump received oxygen treatment twice

Dr. Conley, when questioned, told reporters that Trump had two episodes that required he receive oxygen treatment and "recovered immediately."

On Sunday Conley would only confirm there was one time where Trump needed oxygen but said he would need to check with the nurses assisting with the president's treatment.

"He wasn't short of breath, he wasn't looking ill. It was more of us trying to anticipate needs and see how he’d respond, and both cases he came right off. He didn't need it for very long at all," Conley said.

3:46 pm

Dr. Conley was asked and refused to comment on President Trump's tweet telling people "Don't be afraid of Covid."

"I'm not going to get into what the president says," Conley told reporters.

3:41 pm
'In a bit of uncharted territory' with Trump treatment

Dr. Conley, the president's physician, was asked about concerns of Trump's symptoms becoming worse after he is discharged and said the team remains "cautiously optimistic" and "on guard."

"We are in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received therapies he has so early in the course," he said. "If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief."

3:35 pm

Trump 'probably' met discharge requirements yesterday, doctor says

Trump "probably met most of his discharge requirements" from the hospital yesterday, Dr. Conley said, noting that Trump is returning to the White House medical unit that is staffed 24/7 with doctors and nurses.

Asked about control measures being taken around the president, Dr. Conley said the medical and security staff surrounding Trump are wearing full personal protective equipment.

The Secret Service agents were "in that same level of PPE for a very short period of time" yesterday -- likely referencing Trump's drive-by of supporters outside the hospital on Sunday.

"We've worked with our infectious disease experts to make some recommendations for how to keep everything safe, down at the White House, for the president and those around him," Conley said.

3:26 pm
Trump still taking remdesivir, dexamethasone

Trump receieved a third dose of remdesivir on Monday morning and he "tolerated that infusion without difficulty," Dr. Brian Garibaldi told reporters on Monday.

"Our plan is to give the fourth dose of remdesivir this evening before he goes back to the White House and we've made arrangements to delvier the fifth and final dose of his treatment course at the White House tomorrow evening," he said.

Trump also continues to take the steroid dexamethasone.

3:22 pm

Trump 'may not entirely be out of the woods yet,' doctor says

Dr. Sean Conley, the president's physician, told reporters on Monday that it's been more than 72 hours since Trump had a fever, his oxygen levels and breathing are all normal.

Conley noted that Trump "may not entirely be out of the woods yet" but the medical team agrees that their evaluations and Trump's clinical status support his return home where "he'll be surrounded by world class medical care 24/7."

3:16 p.m.

Trump has met or exceeded all discharge criteria

President Donald Trump will be discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday, the president's medical team announced.

Over the last 24 hours the president has "continued to improve" and has "met or exceeded all discharge criteria."

Trump will be given another dose of remdesivir at the hospital and then be discharged back to the White House.

2:42 p.m.

Trump says he will leave hospital Monday evening.

President Trump tweeted that he will leave Walter Reed Medical Center at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

"Don't be afraid of Covid," the president said. "Don't let it dominate your life."

2:09 p.m.

Trump medical team to give update on president

The medical team treating President Trump will hold a press briefing during the 3 p.m. hour at Walter Reed Medical Center, according to White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere.

1:11 p.m.

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Mark Meadows test negative for coronavirus on Monday.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, along with Trump advisers Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, have all tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday.

1:02 p.m.

2 others in White House press office also test positive

In addition to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany testing positive for the coronavirus, two other staff members in the press office have also come back positive.

Chad Gilmartin and assistant press secretary Karoline Leavitt have both tested positive, sources told ABC News. Gilmartin's positive test came back over the weekend, sources said.

Leavitt's desk is an an open, small central area in the "Lower Press" section of the White House press office, near the briefing room -- dozens of reporters, White House staffers and others typically pass through that area daily.

Gilmartin and McEnany sit in the "Upper Press" area -- a couple stairs and a ramp from where Leavitt sits.

11:40 a.m.

White House press secretary says she's positive for COVID-19

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted on Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus.

McEnany said she had consistently tested negative every day since Thursday, but the positive result came back on Monday morning.

She said she is not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and will begin the quarantine process.

11:00 a.m.

First lady says she is 'feeling good'

First lady Melania Trump said she is "feeling good & will continue to rest at home" in a tweet she posted Monday morning.

10:42 a.m.
Vice President Pence, wife test negative Monday

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence both tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday, according to an official in the vice president's office.

8:43 a.m.

Meadows 'optimistic' Trump will be released from hospital today

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told ABC News the determination whether to release President Trump from Walter Reed Medical Center will be made later on Monday between the president and his medical team.

While a determination has not been made as of yet, Meadows says he's "optimistic" Trump will be back at the White House later in the day on Monday.

Doctors on Sunday also said at a press briefing that they were hopeful that Trump could be released on Monday.

8:26 a.m.

Trump appeals to voters in tweets from hospital suite

President Trump, who is still at Walter Reed Medical Center receiving treatment for the coronavirus, fired off a series of voting and election-related tweets on Monday morning.

Trump tweeted about tax cuts and what he says would happen if Democrats were in charge.

He also appealed to voters in Virginia, where Trump claims the governor is trying to "obliterate your Second Amendment."

8:08 a.m.

Dr. James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital and a non-military attending physician at Walter Reed Medical Center, spoke to Amy Robach on "Good Morning America" on Monday about the potential consequences involved in the president's SUV ride near Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland.

Philips, who is not treating the president, tweeted on Sunday that he thought the event was "insanity" and that it risked the health and lives of the Secret Service agents involved in the spectacle. He expanded on his thought process early Monday morning.

"I have serious concerns that in any automobile, masks or not masks, there's a very high risk of transmission," said Philips. "And then add into the mix that that's not any vehicle. That's a hermetically-sealed vehicle that is designed to be impenetrable to chemical attacks. Therefore the amount of circulation inside is even poorer than we would expect from a normal vehicle. And as a physician, we look at the decisions we make as risks versus benefits."

Philips continued: "I don't know what the benefits of this political stunt were, but I do know what the risks were. And my concern is that perhaps the secret service agents that were inside don't know the full risk of what they were up against there and what the real threats were. And so far as the military and Johns Hopkins physicians who are taking care of this patient, they're excellent. But they're also under undue pressure and a lot of influence outside of that normal physician-patient relationship."

When Philips was asked about whether or not the American public should be concerned about the information they are receiving about the president's health, Philips said that the doctors and nurses involved in Trump's care have the utmost of integrity.

"The president is a patient," explained Philips. "He has a right to privilege. But it's difficult whenever the information provided to the constituents is filtered through a lens of trying to paint a rosy picture. And I don't think that people were being dishonest. I just think that there's difficulty whenever you're pressured to say certain things and thrust into a job that these doctors were never expected to be thrust into."

4:53 a.m.

Sources tell ABC News that President Trump was in good spirits Sunday, and was insisting that he wants to leave Walter Reed Medical Center as soon as possible.

Aides are pushing Trump to relax, sources say.

A timetable on Trump's release was still not finalized as of Sunday night, sources said. Doctors said earlier Sunday that Trump could leave the hospital as early as Monday.