Washington, Oct 2 (efe-epa).- US President Donald Trump was admitted Friday to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “as a precautionary measure” after testing positive for Covid-19.
“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
“President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” she said in a statement.
Trump walked unaided from the White House to the presidential helicopter, Marine One, for the brief flight to the military hospital in suburban Washington.
Clad in his customary suit and tie, the 74-year-old president wore a mask. He flashed a thumbs-up and waved to the reporters on the White House lawn, but did not speak.
Within minutes of his arrival at the medical center, Trump posted a brief video message on Twitter.
“I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well so thank you very much, I appreciate it, I will never forget it,” he said in the 18-second clip.
Trump did not transfer power to Vice President Mike Pence, Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, told the media.
“The president is in charge,” she said.
The president announced via Twitter in the wee hours of Friday that both he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus, which has claimed 208,000 lives in the United States.
More than 12 hours later, the president’s physician, US Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said that Trump received a dose of a polyclonal antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals that is currently classified as an experimental treatment for Covid-19.
“As of this afternoon the President remains fatigued but in good spirits. He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to the next best steps,” Conley said.
Trump’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 election, Joe Biden, called for unity in response to the news of the president’s hospitalization.
“This cannot be a partisan moment. It must be an American moment. We have to come together as a nation,” the former vice president said on Twitter.
Even before the White House announced that Trump would be going to Walter Reed, Biden decided to pull back negative campaign ads and go “all-positive,” The New York Times reported, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters earlier Friday that Trump was experiencing “mild symptoms” and that he remained “engaged” in the duties of the presidency,
“He continues to be not only in good spirits but very energetic,” Meadows said.
Hours later, New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo disclosed that Pence took Trump’s place on a Covid-19 conference call with governors.
“When the call started, the vice president did the call and said the president asked him to handle the call for him,” Cuomo told 1010 WINS radio. “So the president didn’t actually get on the briefing call, the vice president handled it.”
Meadows acknowledged that Trump went forward with a fund-raising event Thursday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, after learning that one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for coronavirus.