The medical team caring for the president at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center had an optimistic update about his condition Saturday, but there were mixed messages from the White House.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We’re going to begin the program talking about the mixed messages coming out of the White House regarding President Trump’s condition. The doctors looking after him gave an update today on his condition. He was hospitalized yesterday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which is just outside Washington in Bethesda, Md.
Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, said he is very happy with improvements in the president’s cough, congestion and fatigue. But shortly afterward, there was new confusion about the president’s condition. White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez joins us now to help us understand what’s going on.
Franco, thanks so much for joining us.
FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: So, Franco, there are discrepancies in the timeline of the president’s treatment and condition. Can you just walk us through this?
ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. The doctor said, you know, the president is doing well. His fever is gone. His symptoms are easing up. He’s on Remdesivir, and they plan for that to continue for the next five days. But things got a bit confusing when Dr. Conley talked about the timeline.
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SEAN CONLEY: I recommended we bring the president up to Walter Reed as a precautionary measure to provide state-of-the-art monitoring and any care that he may need. Just 72 hours into the diagnosis now – the first week of COVID, and in particular days seven to 10, are the most critical in determining the likely course of this illness.
ORDOÑEZ: But, you know, that did raise questions about the timeline of this. So 72 hours would have meant he was positive before the virus on Wednesday – for the virus on Wednesday afternoon, before he did the rally in Minnesota and went to a fundraiser in New Jersey. But president also tested positive for the virus late Thursday night. And a second doctor said that he had been on 48 hours since he received a cocktail of antibiotics. And that’s a treatment called Regeneron. That would also pre-date his time at Walter Reed.
MARTIN: So how did the doctors explain this discrepancy?
ORDOÑEZ: Well, the White House quickly said he misspoke, and Dr. Conley issued a memo saying that he meant to say day three instead of 72 hours and day two instead of 48 hours. But that really wasn’t all. Right after the press conference, a source familiar with the president’s health told White House reporters something that raised a lot of concerns.
The source said, quote, “the president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.” And this part – “we’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.” Now, the Associated Press identified that information as coming from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The White House said there will be further updates on Sunday, so we will learn more then.
MARTIN: And this is all happening, of course, as the election is now a month from today. So could you just bring us up to date on what’s happening with the campaign?
ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. Well, Trump’s campaign manager also has the virus. But they say they are forging ahead. Today, the campaign said they’re going to carry on with what they’re calling Operation MAGA. This will really get rolling on Wednesday with the vice-presidential debate in Salt Lake City. The vice president also has events in Arizona and Indiana. And then president Trump’s adult children are also getting involved. But, you know, everyone is really waiting to see what happens with the president.
MARTIN: That is NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez.
Franco, thank you.
ORDOÑEZ: Thank you.
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