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NEWS & ANALYSIS

MSM and Social Media Players Become Ill Over President’s Covid-19 Experience

Trump returned to the White House Monday night after having spent the weekend in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The available details about President Donald Trump’s treatment are sparse, but that hasn’t stopped the public and media from filling in the gaps.

Here is what we know to be true:

  • Trump announced Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. This came just hours after the announcement of advisor Hope Hicks’ positive test.
  • Trump was taken to Walter Reed for treatment on Friday after two episodes of “drops in oxygen,” for which he received supplemental oxygen while still at the White House.
  • Doctors reported Saturday that Trump was “doing very well,” and that he was not on supplemental oxygen and did not have a fever.
  • Trump is being treated with both the experimental viral treatment Remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone.
  • Doctors noted Sunday that if Trump “continues to look and feel as well as he does today,” they hoped to plan for a Monday discharge.
  • Trump was discharged from Walter Reed Monday evening, and will continue treatment from the White house. Trump’s lead physician Sean Conley said he “may not be entirely out of the woods yet.”

Upon his return, Trump tweeted a message of encouragement before removing his mask and saluting from a White House balcony.

“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” Trump wrote.

It is worth noting that despite being the most talked about tweet in the country at this given moment, at the time of writing, searching Twitter for the phrase “don’t be afraid of Covid” does not return Trump’s tweet as a result.

The timeline so far has been quick, and the details minimal. But Trump’s Monday night return to the White House has rumors flying on both social and mainstream media, ranging from his speedy recovery being proof that he was “faking it,” to speculations that he is actually much more sick than he would have the public believe

On the second day of Trump’s stay at Walter Reed, Harvard University professor and CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem, asserted that it was “very likely” that Russian spies inside the medical center have provided Russia with “more information about the President’s condition than we [have].” Kayyem closed that tweet with “#doctorslietoo.”

On the third day of Trump’s stay, Yahoo News highlighted a theory that photos showing the president working from Walter Reed had been staged in an effort to mislead the public about his productivity level and physical state.

“While multiple photos were released showing Trump in different locations and with different clothes, the corresponding metadata shows they were taken 10 minutes apart, implying to some observers they were staged to create the impression of a full day of presidential business,” Yahoo tweeted.

The same article featured a tweet implying that the photos showed Trump signing a blank piece of paper. The outlet asserted that the paper “on close observation appears to be blank.” It is not clear from the photo whether or not the paper was blank.

The word “gasping” trended on Twitter Monday night amid accusations that Trump was “gasping for air” and “wincing in pain” in video footage of his return to the White House.

Kellyanne Conway’s daughter, Claudia Conway, who has made a name for herself on the social media platform TikTok for being anti-Trump, fueled rumors surrounding Trump’s state, saying “guys lmao he’s not doing ‘better’” and “he is so ridiculous. apparently he is doing badly lol and they are doing what they can to stabilize him.”

Monday night, as Trump returned to the White House, the websites of CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NBC all featured top headlines that accused Trump of “downplaying” the coronavirus. For comparison purposes, the headlines read as follows:

CNN:  As the President arrived, he immediately pulled off his mask for a photo op, once again recklessly downplaying his illness after 210,000 US deaths

The New York Times: Trump Returns to White House After Downplaying Virus Danger

The Washington Post:  Trump returns to White House downplaying virus that hospitalized him

NBC:  Trump, downplaying virus, returns to White House and sheds mask for photo opportunity

The CBS Headline did not use the word “downplaying,” but had a similar angle, reading “Trump says ‘don’t be afraid of COVID’ as U.S. deaths top 210,000.”

In lockstep, CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins decried Trump for removing his mask after returning, saying “Only days into his diagnosis, the first thing President Trump does when he gets back to the White House is take his mask off,”

“JUST IN: President Trump leaves Walter Reed Medical Center to return to the White House, where he has access to constant medical care, after recklessly downplaying Covid-19,” read a tweet from the CNN account

Simultaneous front page headlines from WAPO included “The president cares about his image. That’s pretty much it,” “Even from his hospital rooms, Trump tries to convince the public he’s in charge,” and “Let’s hope Trump recovers — and that the GOP gets what it deserves.”

CNN’s accompanying stories included “Watch: Infected Trump re-shoots entrance into White House with camera crew” and “‘Spitting on my father’s grave’: Doctor slams Trump’s Walter Reed parade.”

MSNBC’s coverage of Trump’s return called his balcony salute a “Mussolini Moment.”  Joy Reid, a host on the progressive opinion channel, opined “This is a Mussolini moment. Donald Trump, who looks like he has makeup on, which means somebody had to get close enough to make up his face with his favorite orange patina. He’s standing there as if he is, you know, a member of the old Russian Czar family. I don’t know what that’s supposed to be.”

Human Events news did not attempt to reach Reid for clarification on any evidence she might have linking the Italian Fascist dictator to the Russian Royal Family.

Written By

Celine Ryan is an American journalist covering politics, culture, tech, and higher education.

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