A President Who’s Sick and Can’t Be Trusted

A truly chaotic combination.

The nation’s chief executive being hospitalized with a deadly illness days before an election deciding whether he gets a second term is a crisis. It is being compounded by a White House that routinely lies to the American people.

Olivia Nuzzi and Ben Jacobs pull no punches in their New York report “The White House Is Spreading Virus and Lies.”

The White House is at war with the virus, with itself, and with reality — though not necessarily in that order.

With President Trump hospitalized for COVID-19 at Walter Reed medical center, officials spent Saturday sowing doubt about his condition instead of offering clarity and reassurance. Doctors and members of the White House staff provided conflicting information about the timeline and progression of the president’s illness, making a bad situation even worse. Asked what it’s been like for insiders trying to get information about the president and the virus spreading through the government, a senior White House official told Intelligencer, “That’s easy. We don’t get any.”

Indeed, it appears that all but a handful of White House staffers learned of Hope Hicks’ and then the President’s infection along with the rest of us. The rationale is positively Nixonian:

The senior official told Intelligencer that not only is there no reliable information flow internally regarding the president’s condition, but there’s also no reliable information about anything else. Even his most senior staffers find themselves in the same predicament as those on the outside looking in. An opaque system designed to protect the White House from negative press is backfiring. “I think most of it is paranoia about leaks,” the official said, “Yet … the leaks continue.”

As bad as that all is as a management style—not to mention display of human decency—it pales in comparison to external messaging. The American people have a right to know whether their President is sick.

In a press conference on Saturday afternoon, White House physician Sean Conley dissembled with lawyerly precision. Standing in front of Walter Reed in his white coat and flanked by other doctors, Conley repeatedly dodged questions as he tried to present a rosy picture of the health of the leader of the free world. According to the White House and Conley, Trump’s stay at Walter Reed was a precaution rather than an indication that his prognosis was growing more serious.

But as he performed this delicate dance of obfuscation, Conley and his colleagues inadvertently offered a new timeline for the president’s diagnosis and treatment — suggesting that the information previously provided by the White House was false. The doctors disclosed that it had been “72 hours” since the president was diagnosed and “48 hours” since he was first given an experimental therapy. That would mean he was known to be sick well before the public learned in a tweet Trump sent at 12:54 a.m Friday that he and the First Lady had tested positive. It didn’t add up.

After the press conference, the group of reporters that always accompanies the president was given an anonymous statement from “a source familiar with the president’s health.” The mystery source offered a fundamentally different and more grave prognosis from what the doctors had just said: “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. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

The source turned out to be White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. As Intelligencer first reported, cameras captured Meadows approaching reporters outside the hospital and asking to speak anonymously. “Obviously, the cameras are still rolling, so if we could go off record with some of you all and get away from the cameras,” he said. Soon after, the nameless statement undercutting the president’s doctors was emailed to the entire White House press corps. Later in the afternoon, the press reported what the doctors refused to disclose: The president had received oxygen to help him breathe.

Meanwhile, Conley attempted to clean up part of his mess. In a statement released through the White House press office, he insisted he misspoke when he said the president had been diagnosed “72 hours ago” and had actually meant to say “day three.” He also said he misspoke about when the experimental therapy was administered to the president: on “day two,” not “48 hours ago,” as Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a well-respected pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins hospital, had stated. Garibaldi and Johns Hopkins declined to comment.

But Panagis Galiastatos, a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Johns Hopkins, told Intelligencerthat by administering remdesivir, Trump’s doctors had committed to the fact that the president is suffering from a “moderate” or “severe” case of COVID-19. Galiastatos defined moderate as requiring hospitalization and severe as close to being committed to an intensive-care unit.

That’s the kind of thing that needs to be crystal clear. Relatedly, we ought to know who the hell is running the show. By all accounts, the 25th Amendment hasn’t been invoked so Trump retains decision-making. But how competent is he to make decisions right now? And, frankly, why would we have any confidence in what the White House is telling us on that score?

Alas, it gets even worse:

Galiastatos, who said he cared for more than 100 COVID patients in the Johns Hopkins ICU, said that his suspicion was that Trump “probably had COVID-19 around Wednesday” and that when you develop symptoms, you are “probably contagious several days before.” If this is correct, it would mean Trump could have spread the virus during Tuesday’s presidential debate, when he stood 12 feet and eight inches from Joe Biden and shouted in his direction for 90 minutes. (The Biden campaign said on Friday that Biden tested negative.)

First, Biden’s negative tests don’t matter yet—it sometimes takes days for the virus to manifest. Second, this means the President was sick and still traveling the country spreading the virus.

This is the type of information the public should be learning from the president’s medical team, but it’s becoming clear that those officials cannot be trusted to be any more truthful about Trump’s condition than this White House has been about anything else. Trump’s business career was built on what he once called “truthful hyperbole,” a salesman’s euphemism for lying. His political career was built on lies with greater consequence, like “birtherism,” the racist conspiracy that Barack Obama wasn’t born in America. His presidency began on day one with press secretary Sean Spicer lying about the size of the crowd at the inauguration.

At the end of Trump’s first term in office, the dilemma now is whether this White House can be trusted at all when it comes to the president’s personal struggle with the virus he’s been spreading misinformation about for the past nine months, providing Pollyannaish rhetoric as the cases and the deaths have mounted.

That’s more rhetorical question than dilemma. We know damn well they can’t be trusted.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Teve says:

    WASHINGTON — As America locked down this spring during the worst pandemic in a century, inside the Trump White House there was the usual defiance.

    The tight quarters of the West Wing were packed and busy. Almost no one wore masks. The rare officials who did, like Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, were ridiculed by colleagues as alarmist.

    President Trump at times told staff wearing masks in meetings to “get that thing off,” an administration official said. Everyone knew that Mr. Trump viewed masks as a sign of weakness, officials said, and that his message was clear. “You were looked down upon when you would walk by with a mask,” said Olivia Troye, a top aide on the coronavirus task force who resigned in August and has endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    In public, some of the president’s favorite targets were mask-wearing White House correspondents. “Would you take it off, I can hardly hear you,” Mr. Trump told Jeff Mason of Reuters in May, then mocked Mr. Mason for wanting “to be politically correct” when he refused.

    A White House long in denial confronts reality

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    But how competent is he to make decisions right now?

    The sicker he is the more competent he’ll be. In a coma or dead he’d rise to his highest level of competency.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    Neither can any of Trump’s entourage. They lie as easily as breathing–in fact, more easily than breathing. Truth means nothing to them.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    A President Who Can’t Be Trusted and is Now Sick. Fixed that for you.

    Over at Axios, Jonathan Swan had a post up yesterday Covering a cover up in real time. That about sums up what is happening in Trump world and yet today Axios has a post showing polling that Trump is getting no push back from R’s from the crisis. https://www.axios.com/surveymonkey-poll-trump-covid-disclosure-89eedb0b-67ed-40d5-ae3e-b500a07ec2af.html This is Jim Jones’ level of Stockholm Effect.

  5. CSK says:

    It’s been pointed out that the photo of Trump tweeted by Ivanka purporting to show him hard at work for the American people in his hospital suite is in fact an image of him signing…a blank piece of paper.

  6. Scott F. says:

    To be fair, in light of Trump’s infection with the coronavirus, it’s got to be extremely difficult to concoct a narrative that will make him still look strong to his base and that will minimize his administration’s criminal negligence to the rest of us. Eight months of building their BS mountain and it just came crashing down with one test. They’re going to have to float some trial stories until they find “alternative facts” they can make even remotely plausible. (In addition, Kellyanne is sick and unavailable to help.)

  7. Teve says:

    @CSK: and they literally forgot to alter the EXIF data

    But critics are pointing to aspects of the images that indicate they may be more of a publicity stunt than convincing evidence that the president is recovering and able to carry out his presidential duties.

    In a series of tweets, Jon Ostrower, editor-in-chief of the Air Current, a digital aviation publication, noted that according to data about the pictures provided by The Associated Press, the photos were taken only about 10 minutes apart, at 5:25:59 pm and 5:35:40 pm ET Saturday.

    But the images are taken in different rooms, with the president wearing a blazer in one photo and just a shirt in another.


  8. CSK says:

    And as staged photos go, they were an incredibly shitty job. It’s blatantly clear that Trump is signing a blank sheet of paper.

  9. mattbernius says:

    I wrote this yesterday about the Meadows on background incident:

    Working with journalists in the past, I fully understand why they have to run stuff on background at times. But this, to me, is a particularly egregious examples of the way that sources can manipulate the system.

    Assuming, based on circumstantial evidence that Meadows is the source (and I think there’s enough smoke there to point to fire), this is a prime example of such manipulation. If Meadows is being honest, what he stated is a much more serious situation than what the Doctors presented. If he’s being less than honest, then he’s using the press to sow confusion (or set up a future narrative).

    Either way, given that this was done on scene and so publicly, this is what the administration wanted (either that or Meadows is about about to be shown the door… which given his history with Trump seems highly unlikely). And the press are being willing conduits either way.

    I want to append it now by saying that if it becomes apparent that you background source was lying to you (and note that Meadows, would, *on record* contradict what he said off record ), then I think it’s time for the press to no longer respect the agreement to keep the identity secret.

    So at this point, without winking, it’s time for everyone who amplified what Meadows said after the doctors press conference call out the fact that he’s changing his story repeatedly and using background as a way to apparently spread misinformation.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: As somebody else pointed out, that’s his healthcare plan he’s signing.

  11. CSK says:

    I thought it was a bill to Mexico for the cost of the wall.

  12. Teve says:

    Here’s what Ivanka tweeted with those photos

    Nothing can stop him from working for the American people. RELENTLESS!

  13. Slugger says:

    We can all be sure that Mr. Trump’s plans to limit the damage from this illness is on track to provide all of us the same freedom from disease that he has provided to himself, his wife, and his inner circle. Of course, some of you may not have the same access the hospitalization and investigational treatments, but this is clearly the working of our free enterprise system which is God’s plan for apportioning benefits to the worthiests.

  14. Teve says:

    @CSK: and if you look at the photos, at first it looks like two different piles of objects on the desks, but if you match the items up it’s the same shit rearranged.

  15. CSK says:

    There are two explanations for this:
    1. Either everybody remaining who works for Trump is incompetent at his or her job
    2. Or they think everyone is too stupid to notice obvious fakes.

    Yeah, I know: It’s both.

  16. Jax says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that as soon as they got to Walter Reed, they made a series of “inspirational videos” and staged photos for later release while Trump was still upright. Pretty hard to look reassuring and presidential if he ends up prone, suspended and on a ventilator. We won’t get any kind of truth out of them as to his condition until he’s dead, if he takes a turn for the worse.

  17. Teve says:


    It’s genuinely funny that — going back to well before the diagnosis — Trump has no idea what a realistic photograph of a busy person working would look like.“

  18. Chip Daniels says:

    What’s most unsettling for me is how easily and effortlessly such a large plurality of Americans have internalized this mindset that Arendt talked about, the mindset of authoritarianism where they witness the lies and admire them for their creativity.

  19. CSK says:

    It reminds me of the Mary Tyler Moore episode where they were trying to film a promo of Ted Baxter looking like a hard-hitting journalist and Ted kept blowing it.

  20. mattbernius says:

    Oof, just read Politico’s profile of Mark Meadows and I cannot believe that any reporter with knowledge of his past behaviors would allow him to go on background.

    Or, at least after being burned this time, no one should let this happen again.


    (Also, man does Boehner really not like the dude)

  21. Teve says:

    Mark Meadows:

    “The president is doing very well. He is up and about and asking for documents to review. The doctors are very pleased with his vital signs. I have met with him on multiple occasions today on a variety of issues.”


    “Documents! Bring forth the documents, that I may review them!”

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Jax: Which leads to the obvious question, if he kicks, how long can they hide it? Remember that Chuckles Koch would much rather have his pet poodle, Pence, as prez than Trump.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    One of Trump’s medical team just said that “he may be released from Walter Reed tomorrow to continue his convalesce at the White House”.

    So that means he will still be sick with the disease.
    Has the White House been deep cleaned in these few days or is is still infected by the Deep State?

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    One of Trump’s medical team just said that “…he may be released from Walter Reed tomorrow to continue his convalesce at the White House”.

    So that means he will still be sick with the disease.
    Has the White House been deep cleaned in these few days or is is still infected by the Deep State?

  25. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Knowing how these people obfuscate, it could mean he’s being released to the morgue.

    Or he could be such a pain-in-the-ass patient that Walter Reed would do anything to get him out of there.

  26. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Re the photos: interesting how much narrower Trump’s shoulders are in a shirt than in the (obviously) shoulder-padded jacket. With his fanatic dedication to his own interests in looking strong and fit, I’m thinking this is one of the signs that he is definitely seriously unwell.

    A journalist (sorry, can’t remember which one) tweeted today that the WH staff are so incompetent that they threw away the opportunity for a day of at least some world leaders wishing Trump a speedy recovery and instead getting into a cluster*bleep* of misinformation and obfuscation.

    This is not the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight – this is the gang who couldn’t find the gun.

  27. Lounsbury says:

    Well given one can not give any particular credence to direct statements as to condition, one is forced to parse from available information that seems to be objective in respect to actual treatment, as from the NYT:

    The doctors said that Mr. Trump had a “high fever” on Friday and a second incident yesterday where his oxygen levels dropped. They were not clear if he was administered oxygen again.

    Dr. Conley also said that the president had also been given the steroid dexamethasone on Saturday.

    The drug has been shown to help patients who are severely ill with Covid-19, but it is typically not used in mild or moderate cases of the disease, and in fact could be harmful early in the course of the disease, when steroids could dampen the body’s own immune response.

    On Sept. 2, the World Health Organization issued guidelines recommending that the steroid only be given to patients with “severe and critical Covid-19.”

    A large study in Britain of the drug found that dexamethasone helped those who had been sick for more than a week, reducing deaths by one-third among patients on mechanical ventilators and by one-fifth among patients receiving supplemental oxygen by other means.

    One can take away then more serious than initially presented (quelle grande surprise) and a treatment regime that either is pushing the boundaries of standard safe practice out of a desire to be aggressive or treating a patient whose actual medical vitals have motivated the medical staff to take aggressive action…

    The first option can’t be excluded (that is perhaps Trump is a serious risk but not yet seriously ill, but the medical staff feel pressure to be aggressive for aggressivity sake).

    But the second option seems quite plausible.

    As interesting that Trump by pure feckless mismanagement has also apparently seeded Covid19 in the very heart of the Party leadership apparatus, with 30 days before election. A more foolish and grossly incompetent leadership error in the time of a Pandemic is difficult to imagine.

    Republicans who did not stay Never Trumpers were blundering fools to have hitched the party to someone with a track record of blundering mismanagement.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    How do you spell SIK FUK?

    “You know, I would say that with regard to Joe Biden, I think too often he’s used the mask as a prop,” Trump Senior campaign adviser Jason Miller said. “(Wearing a) mask is very important, but even if he’s — he could be 20, 30 feet away from the nearest person and still have the mask on.”

  29. charon says:


    “The president is doing very well. He is up and about and asking for documents to review… .”

    He does not read stuff when he is not in the hospital. Now, suddenly, he does??

  30. wr says:

    @Mister Bluster: “So that means he will still be sick with the disease.”

    Not only that, but it seems to be a pretty standard feature of this disease that it hits, and then you have a period where you start to feel better and you think it’s licked, and then it slams back even harder.

  31. Gustopher says:

    There are people on Twitter looking at the reflections and saying that the pictures are altered because the documents should be blocking the reflection of the pen. I’m 80% sure these are crazy people, but because the administration has been lying so much, even about Presidential Covid, I’m really not sure.

    Who knows what is true at this point? Are we at a Weekend at Bernie’s point? Or are they packing him full of drugs to get him at a table looking conscious? Who knows?

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Lounsbury: Also quite possible that Trump, being terrified of dying, is insisting that he get all the experimental treatments even though he’s only moderately ill and his doctors are going along with it, telling each other that because he’s the POTUS he needs “aggressive treatments” and they’ll worry about the side effects later.

  33. @grumpy realist:
    That’s my guess. Trump bullied Dr. Spaceman into giving him whatever he wants. Scared of dying, more scared of looking weak.

    This would be an excellent time for Kim to pop off a missile test, or Xi to station a permanent flotilla around his phony islands, or for Putin to push further into Ukraine. Had they had more notice the Russians might even have made a play for the Baltic countries, but they’d need a couple weeks prep for that, I should think.

  34. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK: That’s better work than he’s done in the past 3-1/2 years, correct?

  35. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Well, since he appears to loll abed till noon when he’s in the White House, it’s certainly more work.

  36. Erik says:

    @grumpy realist: the “because he is important I should do something different” impulse can be a real one for physicians. Anyone who fancies themself a VIP (especially other physicians) wants to be treated “special.” I always tell my colleagues (and remind myself) that if you are tempted to change protocol because they are a VIP then you are practicing substandard medicine most of the time.

  37. Monala says:

    Several journalists on Twitter are reporting that Conley has admitted he lied about Trump’s condition (he wanted to paint a “rosier picture” is the quote) but I can’t find the articles or interview where this admission happened. Anyone know?

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK:It may have been the best that they could do if Trump is as sick as actual medical experts are speculating based on statements of the treatment he’s receiving. When you’re getting oxygen to assist with breathing, among other things, simply getting out of bed to put on a coat or even sitting upright to pretend you’re signing something can be exhausting. Been there, done that, have the souvenir t-shirt/visor set and the bumper sticker for my car.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: Maybe so, but it would be wiser to tell him he’s getting everything that they can throw at him and still do only what is likely to actually promote his recovery.

    We know damn well they can’t be trusted.

    But this has been true since before he came down the escalator back when he announced his candidacy. While it’s more serious this time, there’s no qualitative difference. Assume what you are hearing is untrue and go from there.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @Monala:..I can’t find the articles or interview where this admission happened.
    I heard it on the radio* live. It is transcribed here:

    WTOP Radio
    “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team, that the president, that his course of illness has had. Didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Conley said. “And in doing so, came off like we’re trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.”

    In other words he was lying.

    *My dad got me one of these circa early 1950s.

  41. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    He could well be that ill, but then, they’ll have to take the consequences if they cut him loose on Monday.

  42. Dutchgirl says:

    “doing really well” is so meaningless and relative as to be weasel words. No way he’ll be discharged before the full course of Remdesivir unless its to a place for the non-living. Everything is going by their standard playbook: paint a positive picture no matter what, sow doubt and confusion by any means and blame the fake media for getting it wrong.

  43. JKB says:

    Y’all are funny. Trump will likely be out beating up the reporters by Thursday. And the Conronavirus “crisis” will be dead. Not the coronavirus but people will see the real impact and the power of the therapeutics. My cousin’s daughter and daughter-in-law, both 20-somethings, tested positive a couple weeks ago. A couple days of mild fever and sore throat, then a couple days isolation before back to work. My cousin had it worse even though she tested negative, as she was isolated at home during her daughter’s illness and then had to stay isolated for 14 days after her daughter’s symptoms cleared before she could go on campus of the school she works at.

    And Trump is not hospitalized, he is working out of the presidential suites at the hospital where monitoring and any treatment can be more easily handled. Had he stayed at the White House, he would have been isolated in the residence where conducting work would have been more difficult. No doubt the Walter Reed facilities have hospital grade disease mitigation ventilation, etc., that reduces risk for those interacting with the President.

    But, go ahead, think the worse, it will make his rapid recovery all the more disheartening for you.

  44. Teve says:


    Even with Trump in the hospital with a serious case of COVID-19, the Trump campaign is on national TV this morning attacking Biden for “using the mask as a prop.”

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    @Swami JKB: But, go ahead, think the worse, it will make his rapid recovery all the more disheartening for you

    Now that you are predicting the future tell us exactly when Trump’s “rapid recovery” will unfold.
    Be specific. I want dates and times down to the minute.
    And while you are at it you should report how many American Citizens die while “Trump is not hospitalized”.

  46. CSK says:

    @JKB: “No doubt the Walter Reed facilities have hospital grade ventilation mitigation…”

    So I see you agree with me that they slapped him into the hospital partially to prevent him from infecting others.

  47. mattbernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s my guess. Trump bullied Dr. Spaceman into giving him whatever he wants. Scared of dying, more scared of looking weak.

    FWIW, I think Josh Marshall’s take feels the most right to me (though what the eff do I know).

    Commentators are, I think, missing the clear import of Conley’s statement. The reference to being “upbeat” and not “steering” the disease makes it sound like they’re not holding back information to avoid scaring the public but to avoid scaring the President.

    2/ We’ve already had reporting that the President panicked on Thursday night when his symptoms first began. The logical read of Conley’s statement is that they’re worried about freaking the President out and making him de-compensate and accelerate his illness.

    3/ As I noted yesterday, you probably be freaked too. It’s a scary situation.

    tweets start here: https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1312789801389690887

    From how things sound the president is stabilized right now. It also sounds like he was previously in a bit of a panic–which would match everything we know about his profile.


    And Trump is not hospitalized, he is working out of the presidential suites at the hospital where monitoring and any treatment can be more easily handled.

    You realize that if he is staying in a hospital to receive treatment, that’s a hospitalization (i.e. admitted to a hospital for treatment). Yes, it’s a precautionary one–which makes total sense in this case. And in both press conferences, the Doctors directly stated that the President is receiving various treatments.

    Or do you have a different definition of what “hospitalized” means?

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    @mattbernius:..Or do you have a different definition of what “hospitalized” means?

    JKB…Just Kidding Because: “I don’t know what I’m talking about!”

  49. Lounsbury says:

    @grumpy realist: Yes that is true – in fact it is perhaps the most likely explanation overall although not exclusive of the first option.

    @mattbernius: Moscow hasn’t sent him the party position yet, so he’s on his own here to flail around.

  50. CSK says:

    According to CNN, Trump is furious with Mark Meadows for contradicting Sean Conley, Trump’s doctor. Surprise, surprise.

  51. Michael Reynolds says:


    I think he’s going to die. But on the third day he will rise again! Hallelujah! Praise be! It was all Trump’s 12 dimensional chess game – get sick, infect his wife, his campaign manager and some Republican senators to show the world – hosannah! – that um, hmm, what would that prove?

    Oh, right, it’d prove you’re an idiot cultie. But then we knew that.

  52. Paine says:

    What I find hilarious about those ridiculous photos is that I, second to none in my dislike of the man, wouldn’t fault the guy for taking some time off to recuperate. Instead of conveying an image of man doing what anyone else would do in such a circumstance (take time off, rest), they are trying to paint this picture of Trump as a “relentless” workaholic, but doing a such a lame, lame job of it.

  53. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump is always furious when confronted with anything close to the truth. Who’ll be the next gormless twit to play Chief of Staff?

  54. Mister Bluster says:

    gormless…a new word every day…

  55. charon says:

    I posted this in the other thread but I’ll put it here also:


    1. On Friday, he got the maximum dose of an experimental, antibody cocktail and given supplemental oxygen

    2. Yesterday, he was started on Remdesivir

    3. Today, he’s on Dexamethasone

    Dex isn’t a drug given to mild cases for patients not needing Oxygen or ventilation.

    Here is something on typical disease progresion:


  56. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: You do realize that we know he has had drops in his oxygen levels, don’t you?

    Covid hits weirdly, with upswings and downswings. The S in SARS-2 stands for “sudden”. Or “syndrome,” if you want to look at the other S, but that’s not helpful.

    The outlook for old, fat men who have had oxygen drops is not as good as a 20 something who had a mild fever and sore throat.

    He might recover just fine. He might be dead by tomorrow. Or he might be in between. We don’t know yet. It changes suddenly.

    And given the number of infected at the Barret covid funhouse, it’s likely that someone will die. So why not the one who has already had oxygen drops?

    I hope he pulls though and is well enough to serve out his prison terms. But it’s foolish to assume that it can’t go the other way.

  57. wr says:

    @JKB: “Not the coronavirus but people will see the real impact and the power of the therapeutics. ”

    Or perhaps, if your fantasy comes true, they will see that the virus can sometimes be defeated if you have the power and money to be helicoptered to a hospital where you have a dedicated team of doctors and nurses taking care of you 24 hours a day and giving you experimental drugs which are not available to the general public.

    Oh, and maybe they’ll see he’s trying to take away what little health insurance they have.

    Do you really think the American public is as stupid as you present yourself to be?

  58. Sleeping Dog says:

    If Trump dies, the culties are going to declare it is fake news.

    What’s interesting about the response of the culties is that they are not expressing concern for Trump, they are denying the reality that he’s even ill.

  59. Joe says:

    I have seen reporting all over the map, including what charon lists. But, if Trump is really that ill, it is incredibly stupid messaging to suggest he may be discharged on Monday and then have to keep stringing that out. If doesn’t actually return to the WH on Monday, it will be yet more evidence that his communications team is as stupid as he is ill.

  60. CSK says:

    CNN and others are reporting that Trump, sitting in the back of a Chevy Suburban and masked, went for a drive outside Walter Reed this afternoon to thank Cult45.

  61. Matt says:

    @Sleeping Dog: If he does die the culties will blame the “deep state” for assassinating him because he was just about to bring the DemonRATS and Hillary to justice.

  62. Jax says:

    @CSK: What are the odds they slapped a Trump wig on a random orderly at the hospital, masked him up, and took him for a drive? It seems awfully irresponsible and inconsiderate of the Secret Service guys’ lives that would’ve had to be in the vehicle with him to pull something like that. He’s contagious right now.

  63. Jax says:

    Right. Who am I kidding….this is Trump….nobody matters but him and getting his rally fix. 🙁

  64. JohnSF says:

    Could be that Trump will recover rapidly; could be he will recover fully (another matter entirely).

    But compare e.g. Boris Johnson.
    Who is also likely to have received high grade medical care.
    27 March: announced as tested positive and “mildly symptomatic”
    continues to work from isolation (and presumably regular medical checks) until
    5 April: admitted to hospital “as a precautionary step”
    6 April: moved to intensive care; some reports indicate he was very, very sick at this point
    9 April: moved back to general (isolated) ward
    12 April: discharged

    In other words: it’s early days.
    True, therapeutics have advanced since Spring; death to hospitalization ratios have declined (and are also better when hospital ICU is not overwhelmed by a “spike”).
    As against that, Johnson was younger, and probably in better general health, despite being a bit overweight.

    But early counting of chickens is often unwise.

  65. Gustopher says:

    You can preorder your commemorative coin of Trump Defeating Covid now!


    Design is suggestive of superhero graphic art because POTUS 45 has created a never before seen presidential mythos.

    I predict, ages hence, myths will abound of President Donald J. Trump, akin to the Epic of Gilgamesh.

    This all seems perfectly normal.

    I just wish we could preorder Covid Defeats Trump coins from the same source. The design of Covid would be suggestive of super heroic graphic art. Covid will go down through the ages as something, something Gilgamesh.

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I’ll see no compelling reason to believe that they cut him loose on Monday even if they say they did until I see him in public. Sort of like reports about Kim Jong eun only the other way. Just assume they’re lying until irrefutable proof is offered. Works for all matters Trump-related.

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: By all means. Keep telling yourself that. Having faith is a good quality to develop.

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: In fairness, I find ample reason to believe that 40% of the population (give or take) is exactly as stupid as JKB presents himself to be.

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: CNN and others are reporting that a Trump lookalike, sitting in the back of a Chevy Suburban and masked, went for a drive outside Walter Reed this afternoon to thank Cult45.

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Aannnnnnnndd Jax beat me to it. 🙁 But this gives me the opportunity to suggest that he might have learned something about statecraft in his meetings with Jong eun. Body doubles are a staple of NK folklore.

  71. CSK says:
  72. Jax says:

    There is no bottom to Donald J Trump’s narcissism and selfishness. He will happily throw every single American in the country to the wolves to get what he wants.

  73. CSK says:

    The Secret Service agents and the driver who had to take him on his joyride this afternoon swill have to be quarantined for two weeks. But what the hell. Donny wanted to display himself to his adoring fans. Why not risk the lives of three others?

  74. Jax says:

    @CSK: Lends more credence to his lack of concern over Russian bounties on our soldiers in Afghanistan, him calling our soldiers suckers and losers….if he can’t care about the Secret Service members who keep him safe on the daily, and keeping THEM safe in return….then nobody else matters at all. We’re all just faceless G.I Joe figures and peasants for him to sacrifice to his whims. He only needs us to cheer when he drives by.

  75. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I’m here for you, MB. It’s very British. I watch way too much British comedy.

  76. Michael Reynolds says:

    As if more proof were needed of just what a pathetically needy, insecure and narcissistic creep he is.

  77. Jax says:

    And let’s not even get into the “evil” factor if he KNEW he was positive as early as Tuesday and debated Joe Biden, anyways. Knowingly conducting biological warfare on his domestic political enemy? Yeah, I would not put that past him, at this point. Or at least his team. Wonder which world leader they got that idea from…..(eyeroll)

    Biden needs to show up with a plexiglass shield and a hazmat suit at the next debates, IF they happen. And the biggest mask EVER, with a giant middle finger. I don’t care how “juvenile” it looks. 🙂

  78. Monala says:

    @Jax: plus there’s no air circulation in presidential vehicles, to protect against attacks from biohazards or chemical agents.

  79. Kylopod says:


    My cousin’s daughter and daughter-in-law, both 20-somethings, tested positive a couple weeks ago. A couple days of mild fever and sore throat, then a couple days isolation before back to work.

    You do realize that younger people are at much less risk and typically get it much more mildly than older people? How is it possible you don’t know this already? It’s been the centerpiece of the argument for people attempting to minimize the pandemic. Jeez, you can’t even keep your talking points straight.

    And as long as we’re doing anecdotes, I’ll give you mine. I was sick with Covid around the late spring, early summer period. My case would probably be described as “mild” in the sense that I never came close to needing hospitalization, I never had high fever and never was in any extreme pain or discomfort. But it lasted 6 weeks, and I continued to have shortness of breath for months afterward. I’m 43 with no major preexisting health problems (that I know of–I subsequently found that I have allergies). But let me tell you something, if there’s one way I’d describe the experience, it’s that I was “out of it.” I felt sluggish and didn’t feel like doing much. I was physically weak–I had trouble just picking up a bag of groceries, and I even felt a strain dragging one across the floor. I worked from home the entire time, but my work these days consists basically of punching stuff into a computer all day and making a few phone calls. I’ve listened to the accounts of other people who have had the illness, both people I know and famous people, and there are many who had a much rougher experience than mine and yet still were never hospitalized. A common thing I hear is “I couldn’t get out of bed.”

    The point I’m trying to make is that just because you survive the illness, as most people with it do, doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to go through, and one aspect of it that isn’t talked about much is that it really depletes a person’s energy, even those who have had it mildly. The White House has clearly been downplaying the severity of Trump’s illness, but even if he manages to recover he’s going to be off the scene for at minimum the next few weeks. I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. But that’s my prediction, based on what I know.

  80. mattbernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m here for you, MB. It’s very British. I watch way too much British comedy.

    What’s your (or any OTBers) current poison?

    My wife and I have been looking for a new Brit-Com.

  81. An Interested Party says:

    What’s your (or any OTBers) current poison?

    Two’s Company is excellent for Elaine Stritch alone, although she plays wonderfully off of Donald Sinden and vice versa…

  82. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..It’s very British.

    My exposure to British humor is limited to Monty Python, Roger Rabbit (Bob Hoskins was a Brit) and Lord of the Flies “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything.”

  83. Kylopod says:

    @Mister Bluster: Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, Douglas Adams, the Beatles movie Help!, Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy, the original Bedazzled, the original Ladykillers–are all examples of British comedy. Roger Rabbit isn’t (it’s basically a noir parody with Looney Toons), but A Fish Called Wanda is to a degree. It’s hard to describe British comedy unless you’ve seen a lot of it, but I’ll say it’s drawn heavily toward surreal weirdness, black comedy, and a lot of jokes involving understatement.

  84. Teve says:


  85. Mister Bluster says:

    Thanks for the tutorial.
    I’ve seen Help and Wanda both at the theatre and possibly Ladykiller with Peter Sellers on TV probably 50 years ago.
    I guess I figured since I included Lord of the Flies anyone would know I was being a wise ass.
    Sometimes I forget that I should never assume anything.

  86. Teve says:

    Wow. Kai Ryssdal points out that Trump’s little stunt of riding around waving to the supporters in public, happened right before 6 PM EST, when dow futures start trading for the next week.

  87. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mattbernius: @An Interested Party: @Kylopod: @Teve:

    Every night the last 20 minutes or so we watch YouTube clips of Jimmy Carr, Michael McIntyre, Dylan Moran (Irish), Greg Davies, Dara O’Brian (also Irish), also panel shows like WILTY (Would I lie To You) and Taskmaster. If you want Covid-awkward but still brutal political comedy there’s Frankie Boyle’s New World Order. Kevin Bridges stand-up (very Scottish as is Frankie.)

  88. CSK says:

    The basis of almost all British comedy is deflating (“taking the piss out of”) pretentious people.

  89. Lounsbury says:


    6 April: moved to intensive care; some reports indicate he was very, very sick at this point

    To be clearer, confirmed as well by his own account later on.

  90. DrDaveT says:


    And the Conronavirus “crisis” will be dead.

    So, you’re saying that if Trump recovers fairly quickly, it will no longer be true that 5000 Americans died of COVID-19 last week? Or that somehow another few thousand won’t die next week? Or is it just that those deaths don’t matter much?

  91. DrDaveT says:



    If you want to go way back, Good Neighbors, Yes Minister, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, To the Manor Born…