President Donald Trump said from his hospital room on Saturday that he felt “much better” but the next few days will be “the real test” of his treatment for COVID-19, capping a day of contradictory messages from the White House about his condition.
In a four-minute video posted on Twitter, Trump, looking tired and wearing a jacket and open-necked shirt, said he “wasn’t feeling so well” when he first arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.
“Over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test, so we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days,” Trump said, seated at a round table in front of an American flag.
“I think I’ll be back soon,” the president said, adding “I look forward to finishing up the [election] campaign the way it was started.”
The remarks came hours after differing assessments of his health from administration officials left it unclear how ill the president had become since he tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday night, a matter of enormous public concern.
A White House team of doctors said on Saturday morning that Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House. One doctor said Trump told them “‘I feel like I could walk out of here today.’”
He suggested he was committed to fighting coronavirus worldwide.
He said he was “so thankful” to those who sent him good wishes in the US and also to world leaders who sent condolences.
He also said the first lady is “doing very well”, pointing out that his wife is younger than him and therefore in a lower-risk category than the president, who is 74.
“I think we’re going to have a very good result, over the next few days we’re going to know for sure. I want to thank everybody out there, the outpouring of love has been incredible,” he added.
Within minutes, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a less rosy assessment, telling them, “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.”
Meadows, whose initial comments were delivered on condition that he not be identified, altered his tone hours later, telling Reuters that Trump was doing “very well” and that “doctors are very pleased with his vital signs.”
Meadows did not clarify the discrepancy in his comments. A Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president was not happy to learn of Meadows’ initial remarks.
Trump was flown from the White House to Walter Reed, near Washington, about 17 hours after he announced his illness. Administration officials, who described the move as precautionary, said he would stay at the hospital for several days. the