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‘Simply reckless’: Medical experts slam Trump for endangering Secret Service agents with a ‘publicity stunt’

‘Simply reckless’: Medical experts slam Trump for endangering Secret Service agents with a ‘publicity stunt’
President Donald J. Trump works in the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Although President Donald Trump — who is hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland after testing positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus — is supposed to be isolated as much as possible, that didn't stop him from going for a photo-op on Sunday, October 4. That day, Trump was seen going for a ride in a black Chevy Suburban, where he waved at supporters outside of Walter Reed. And both Secret Service agents and doctors, the Washington Post reports, are "aghast" by Trump's irresponsible photo-op.

Those medical professionals and Secret Service agents, according to Post reporters Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig and Hannah Knowles, are complaining that Trump "endangered those inside his SUV for a publicity stunt."

"As the backlash grew," the Post journalists explain, "multiple aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations also called Trump's evening outing an unnecessary risk — but said it was not surprising. Trump had said he was bored in the hospital, advisers said. He wanted to show strength after his chief of staff offered a grimmer assessment of his health than doctors, according to campaign and White House officials."

One Secret Service agent told the Post, "He's not even pretending to care now." And another complained, "Where are the adults?"

Dr. James P. Phillips, who teaches at George Washington University and is associated with Walter Reed, tweeted, "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. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity."

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, who also teaches at George Washington, tweeted, "By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed, the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk."

CNN's Kevin Liptak is also reporting that Secret Service agents and medical professionals are appalled by Trump's irresponsibility.

A Secret Service agent, interviewed on condition of anonymity, told CNN, "That should never have happened…. The frustration with how we're treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this, though. We're not disposable."

Another Secret Service agent told CNN, "It was simply reckless."

Dr. Leana Wen, an ER physician who is often featured on CNN as a medical analyst, tweeted that if Trump were her patient "in unstable condition + contagious illness, & he suddenly left the hospital to go for a car ride that endangers himself & others: I'd call security to restrain him then perform a psychiatric evaluation to examine his decision-making capacity."

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