As Trump Indulges ‘Sad’ Sunday Spectacle At Walter Reed, Sources Say First Positive Test Wasn’t Disclosed

Apparently unsatisfied with White House physician Sean Conley’s public relations efforts over the weekend, Donald Trump took matters into his own hands on Sunday evening.

“We’re getting great reports from the doctors”, Trump began, in another propaganda-style video posted to Twitter. “I also think we’re going to pay a little surprise to some of the patriots that we have out on the street”.

The reference was to a small gathering of supporters camped outside Walter Reed. “They’ve been out there for a long time, and they’ve got Trump flags”, the president continued, waving his hand for effect.


It’s true, they have “been out there for a long time” and they do have flags — more Trump flags than American flags it would appear, at least on a quick visual inspection.

Minutes later, a masked Trump got into a motorcade and, in what was quickly derided on social media as a highly unfortunate and wholly farcical stunt, drove around in a circle, waving at fans through bulletproof glass.


One supporter held up a giant, cardboard cutout of the president’s face. Others chased after his SUV waving banners. Traffic was stopped and security ensured no one approached the vehicles.

Trump was reportedly upset with Mark Meadows over the weekend for describing the president’s condition in stark terms. For his part, Conley wasn’t straightforward with the press on Saturday about Trump’s use of supplemental oxygen. He cleared things up on Sunday, where that means he just told the truth. Trump did, in fact, receive oxygen Friday at The White House, consistent with media reports. He’s also on dexamethasone.

Read more: Amy Coney Barrett Event Seen As Height Of White House Virus Negligence

When considered in the context of Trump’s vanity and penchant for showmanship, Sunday’s publicity stunt was hardly surprising. To the president, it probably seemed harmless — a low-risk way to boost his own morale, acknowledge diehard fans, and make a point about his own vitality.

And yet, as ever, Trump doesn’t seem to appreciate the parallels between his behavior and that of autocrats. Posting videos and organizing unnecessary public appearances for the purpose of dispelling rumors about the health of a country’s leader is the stuff of authoritarian regimes. It’s the kind of behavior one would expect from Pyongyang or Damascus or Caracas or Tehran.

For political scientists, students of history, and, most importantly, former government officials, Trump’s Sunday theatrics came across as eerily reminiscent of tinpot dictators. Former FBI counterintelligence agent and Yale-trained lawyer Asha Rangappa called it “sad” and “desperate”, for example.

Others lamented the plight of Secret Service personnel who had no choice but to risk contracting the virus so that Trump could drive through an intersection.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal confirmed what many suspected: Trump did not disclose his first positive COVID-19 test. A rapid test came back positive Thursday, prior to a cameo on Fox News during which he didn’t reveal the result.

“Under White House protocols, the more reliable test that screens a specimen from deeper in the nasal passage is administered only after a rapid test shows a positive reading”, the Journal writes, noting that “based on people familiar with the matter, the president’s tests followed that protocol”.

Sources also suggested Trump instructed one adviser to keep their own positive test from the public. “Don’t tell anyone”, Trump reportedly said.

As for the parallels between Trump’s Sunday drive-by and authoritarian regimes, you’re reminded of Vladimir Putin’s message to the US president on Friday. “I am sure your inherent vitality, spirit, and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus”, Putin told Trump.


13 comments on “As Trump Indulges ‘Sad’ Sunday Spectacle At Walter Reed, Sources Say First Positive Test Wasn’t Disclosed

  1. Alex says:

    The steroids will make you feel great, at least that’s what I have found. Truly Pathetic.

  2. Jesse says:

    The only thing missing now is the ‘hydroxychloroquine cured me’ tweet.

  3. Bill W. says:

    Can anyone explain the East Turkestan flags (blue with star & crescent)? Anti- Chinese demonstrators?

  4. runamok says:

    Would be quite something if the Democrats take the Senate, hold the house, and Trump retains the Execute branch. hahaha! We know what would happen…$3T fiscal stimulus gets passed, then impeachment proceeding.s begin. I don’t think the market has taken this outcome into account.

    Another pathetic episode for presidential scholars to mull over.

    I remember that during the high-era for HIV, purposefully infecting, or attempting to infect, others was a crime. Who is responsible for this super spreader event at the White House? Did a crime occur? Was this an act of gross negligence?

    I can’t wait to read the H. post on Kocic’ next letter. In fact, I’m really looking forward to distillation of Kocic over these next few months.

  5. He must be one sick puppy. WHY? read below.

    If he was not really sick as a showman he would be in the White House. SO he is sick, really sick.

    So if he continues stunts then he is stable but very sick.

    If he quits doing stunts then we know he is almost ready to die.

    • Xeger says:

      If you have active covid then you are, by definition, a sick puppy; you could stroke out or gasp out at any time during the first week. So, yes: if he’s there, he’s very sick, but mostly in the predictability sense. We shall see how long the stunts hold out, I suppose.

  6. JJS says:

    It is not too far fetched to think this could be a scenario: Even though Trump tweeted he tested positive, since then there has been no detail on his vitals. His doctors have been particularly determined to not disclose any useful medical information, leaving only room for speculation. He may go back to the White House today. So if he recovers from here, I expect nothing less than a statement declaring ” while he didn’t feel good, had covid like symptoms, was monitored 24/7, yada, yada… he had nothing more than a bad case of the flu”. Therefore he never had covid, did not infect anyone else, bears no responsibility. It was someone else. Ditto for the FL. He said “he gets it” but he will never change.
    Then again, if he ends up on a ventilator, never mind.

  7. joesailboat says:

    A vacine in record time widely disseminated is a pipe dream. A good therapeutic was a more realistic goal and is a win, if widely available. And tested. Our President is a Guinea Pig.
    Still,Mask,Wash and Beware.

  8. Mr. Lucky says:

    We do have one other implication here — his wife won’t visit him. Haven’t seen that the Kushners have stopped by either. The drive-by yesterday was almost as silly as the bible show. Walter Reed rooms must not have mirrors that reflect greatness so he had to go outside.

  9. Darkstar says:

    Dana Bash: “The Secret Service is trained to take a bullet FOR the President, not FROM the President.”

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