The COVID-19 pandemic took an especially alarming turn in October when President Donald Trump announced his diagnosis and was ultimately transported to the hospital for intensive treatment.
Thankfully, he made a rapid and robust recovery — but new details indicate that public perception at the time did not fully capture how serious the situation had become behind the scenes.
Trump’s hospitalization sparks concerns
This revelation came in a new report from The New York Times, which focused on the circumstances surrounding Trump’s hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just weeks before the November election.
The development came as a shock to the nation, and many allies gathered outside of the hospital to show their support for the president, who responded by greeting them in a surprise motorcade appearance.
Millions of Americans who prayed for him at the time were reportedly justified in worrying about him. Trump’s bout with the pandemic virus was even more frightening than it appeared, according to four individuals who spoke to the Times on the condition of anonymity.
His blood oxygen level reportedly reached a dangerous low, and at one point officials feared he would need to be placed on a ventilator.
Trump also had lung infiltrates, a symptom often seen in pneumonia patients, according to the report. One close ally, however, denied that the then-president was seriously ill.
“Our country stands strong”
After spending just a weekend receiving treatment, a convalescing Trump returned to the White House with a bold message, urging his fellow Americans against living in fear of the virus.
His speedy comeback was dramatic and, like much of his term in office, became fodder for intense politicization. Some of his detractors accused him of downplaying his condition and a few particularly heartless foes even publicly wished ill upon him.
A defiant Trump nonetheless pressed on, hitting the campaign trail within days of his discharge from the hospital. He told supporters at the time that he felt “powerful” and even danced on stage as he looked forward to Election Day.
World leaders, and even a few ardent detractors, joined in wishing him a complete recovery. In a tweet, then-White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany affirmed: “America stands united. Our country stands strong. Your President will continue to put the People first!”
Months later, Trump is a private citizen and his bout with COVID-19 appears to be firmly in the past. His foes are still attempting to force him to exit the political scene altogether by pursuing a second impeachment effort against him. An ongoing Senate trial is all but certain to fail, however, and Trump has made it clear that he has no plans to become a shrinking violet in his post-presidency.