Measures to protect Trump from coronavirus increase even as he seeks to move forward

While seeking to insert rival Joe Biden’s health into the presidential campaign, Trump has voiced growing concern over how he would appear if he contracted the coronavirus and insisted on steps to protect himself, even when he refuses to wear a mask in public and is agitated by large campaign campaigns where the virus could spread.

When he travels to places where the virus is emerging, advanced security and medical teams inspect each place the president enters for possible areas of contagion, according to people familiar with the arrangements. The restrooms designated for the President’s use are cleaned and disinfected before he arrives. Staff keep a close accounting of who will contact the President to ensure they receive the evidence.

While the White House gradually eliminates steps, such as temperature controls and the wearing of required masks in the West Wing, changes intended to indicate the country is moving forward, those close to the President still undergo regular testing. And even as Trump tries to leave the pandemic behind by encouraging the reopening and minimizing the new surge, there are signs of a pandemic still raging even within its orbit.

And CNN learned that a third White House staff member who was recently close to Trump also tested positive. According to two sources familiar with the matter, the employee is a senior economic official who was in the Rose Garden with Trump during an event this month. Due to privacy concerns, CNN does not name the individual.

Multiple Trump campaign employees quarantined after Tulsa rally

As infections increase and several states halt their reopens, political advisers and the president’s allies are increasingly concerned that he is passing a pandemic that still affects the nation and, this week, members of his own team. . Trump’s absence from Friday’s coronavirus task force report only added to the impression that he is leaving the pandemic response to others.

None of the nation’s top health experts, who dropped into the circular unit outside the Department of Health and Human Services, seemed overly concerned that Trump was not there. The coronavirus task force meeting had been moved from the Situation Room of the White House to the headquarters of the health agency without much explanation. Vice President Mike Pence carried his security in tow and several aides were driven from the west wing in black suburbs.

As the meeting began, the president was back in the White House tweeting about attempts to tear down statues and abruptly canceling a planned trip to New Jersey to be able, he said, to ensure that “law and order are upheld ” during the weekend.

His absence from the meeting on the other side of town seemed unimportant to his staff; Trump has not attended a formal task force meeting since April, two sources familiar with his attendance say.

“The president continues to lead the government-wide response to Covid-19 and regularly receives updates on the work of the vice president’s task force,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN.

Although Trump regularly calls Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar for updates on the outbreak, he rarely speaks to the other members of the task force. While testifying on Capitol Hill this week, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to say when he last spoke to Trump. And the United States Food and Drug Administration commissioner and other advisers acknowledged that it had been weeks since they last spoke to him.

Rather than focus on the pandemic, Trump has focused on more familiar territory: waging a cultural battle over attempts to tear down controversial statues and monuments. While Pence told reporters on Friday that it was Trump who ordered him to hold the coronavirus task force’s first briefing in eight weeks, the president made no attempt to promote the briefing, which he always did when he did so. headed.

Trump’s re-elected officials have been concerned by polls that show voters reject how he has handled the outbreak so far. However, Trump himself has shown little willingness to revert to the war posture he once assumed daily from the White House meeting room, leaving the public message to others.

“At some point in the future, historians will marvel at the fact that the president lost ground during a pandemic and then during mass unrest,” Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson said during his opening monologue Thursday night. “Both crises should have highlighted his strengths. They were natural to him.”

“A lot of people voted for Donald Trump precisely to avoid a time that we are in now,” Carlson said.

Protective bubble

Trump's post-Covid bubble bursts

Even as Trump tries to move on, the protective bubble around him has grown thicker. Attendees say the steps are necessary to allow the President, by all definitions, an essential worker, to continue leading the country in the midst of the pandemic.

But people familiar with the matter say the precautions also stem from Trump’s own insistence that he will not contract the disease and his increased awareness of how a sick president would affect both the country’s view of him and his ability to order a response to the pandemic.

After Trump told attendees at the start of the outbreak that he must avoid getting sick at all costs, efforts to prevent him from contracting the virus have become increasingly intensive and far-reaching. The first steps, such as keeping more hand sanitizer nearby, eventually evolved into an intensive security appliance, including the trial regimen that requires dozens of employees.

So far, efforts appear to have been effective, at least to prevent the President from contracting the virus. But the events of the past week have also underscored Trump’s primacy over security measures, with the safety of employees making up his massive footprint second.

That was clear even before Trump landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a rally on Saturday night. In the hours leading up to their arrival, a handful of campaign workers tested positive for the virus. In the days following the rally, several more were found to have contracted it. Many campaign employees, who hoped to be planning more protests in the near future, decided to quarantine instead. And dozens of US Secret Service staff members were ordered to quarantine after working on the Tulsa event.

This week, the CDC updated its list of people most at risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, removing a specific age threshold and instead warning Americans that the risk steadily increases with age. The CDC also added to its list of underlying conditions that increase the risk of serious illness, to include obesity and serious heart conditions.

Trump, who turned 74 on June 14, is considered obese, according to the results of his latest physical exam, which showed he weighed 244 pounds and is 6 feet 3 inches tall. The results of his first physical exam while in the office indicated that he also had a common form of heart disease.

Trump’s most recent physical results showed that his cholesterol is lower than when he took office. But other aspects of his health remain unknown. The summary of the results provided by the President’s doctor this year did not include the same level of detail that Trump provided in 2018, when he insisted that he be given a mental acuity test to set aside questions about his acuity.

Trump’s abrupt trip last October to the Walter Reed National Medical Center remains a source of questions and speculation, even among some of his aides. The White House insisted that the trip was intended to begin with its annual physical examination, but it was not announced in advance and the results of the physical examination were not released for another six months.

The president has repeatedly told officials that he cannot get sick, and was angered when he learned last month that one of the military aides handling his food and drink had contracted the disease. Trump asked how it was possible that someone with such intimate access to him could have contracted the virus, and in the days after the revelation seemed cautious with people he didn’t know well, people familiar with his reaction said.

Genuine alarm

United States breaks the record for new coronavirus cases reported in a single day

Trump seemed genuinely alarmed when people close to him contracted the disease, seeing in his experiences a fate he was working to avoid on his own. He repeatedly raised his friend Stanley Chera, a New York real estate developer with whom Trump had been friends for decades. Trump described his surprise at Chera’s descent from contracting the virus to a coma and eventually succumbing to the disease.

Later, Trump was again shocked to learn that one of his closest foreign allies, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had become seriously ill with the virus, at one point admitted to an intensive care unit in London. Trump requested frequent updates on the deterioration in Johnson’s condition, and then asked to speak to him as soon as he headed for recovery.

Trump, who for a long time defined himself as a germaphobe, openly punished attendees who coughed or sneezed in his presence even before the virus. But in the midst of the pandemic, any signs of respiratory illness have been met with the president’s eyes. When Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a briefing that she had had a fever and was quarantined, Trump jokingly backed off.

When Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump’s first foreign visitor in months, arrived at the White House this week, he and his entire delegation received evidence of coronaviruses, as did American officials who participated in the meeting.

For months, anyone approaching the President has been given a test for coronavirus, though the Abbott Laboratories product used by the White House has raised concerns about high false-negative rates.

Trump, who in the 1980s and 1990s openly discussed his success in avoiding a sexually transmitted disease, “is Vietnam,” he told Howard Stern, “it is very dangerous. So I am very, very careful.” The controversial step of taking a round of hydroxychloroquine in an attempt to prevent the coronavirus.

Although the drug has not been shown to prevent coronavirus infection, Trump publicly touted its benefits and announced mid-round that he was taking it. His doctor later said that Trump’s medical team used an EKG to closely monitor the President’s heart while taking the drug, as some studies have suggested it could cause serious heart problems.