President Trump’s drive-by salute to supporters outside Walter Reed hospital was cleared by his medical team “as safe,” the White House said late Sunday amid criticism from top doctors.
“Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including PPE,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
“The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”
The president’s brief excursion, taken amid his battle with the coronavirus, sparked outrage online — including from medical professionals — who charged Trump was putting others at risk for a political stunt.
The infected president wore a black mask as he cruised by cheering crowds in his sealed SUV, which had two people, also in face coverings, sitting in the front seats.
“This is insanity,” tweeted Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where Trump has been hospitalized since Friday evening.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die,” the doctor wrote. “For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.”
Jonathan Reiner, a professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington University, charged that the “joy ride” put Trump’s “Secret Service detail at grave risk.”
“In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat,” tweeted Reiner. “This is the height of irresponsibility.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people infected with the virus not travel.
“In general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes,” the agency has said.
Trump’s medical team said earlier Sunday that the president could be discharged to the White House as early as Monday.
With Post wires