[guest post by Dana]
Back in June, White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said publicly that President Trump was being tested multiple times a day:
“As I’ve made clear from this podium, the president is the most tested man in America,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters. “He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day, and we believe that he’s acting appropriately.”
Pressed on her remarks, which were in response to a question regarding the president’s reluctance to wear a face mask in public, McEnany declined to elaborate on the specific number of times Trump is tested in a 24-hour period.
“He’s tested often. I’m not going to read out exactly how many times he’s tested a day, but sometimes it is more than one time a day,” she said.
However, on the same day that McEnnany made the claim, President Trump later contradicted her:
Speaking during a White House news briefing later Tuesday, Trump himself said he is tested on average once every two or three days. He denied ever having been tested multiple times in a single day but said, “I could see that happening.”
We should’ve known something was up. And we did…
Now that 14 White House staff members have tested positive for the virus (at least 27 people in total across Trump’s White House, election campaign and military leaders have now tested positive), there are questions about just how frequently President Trump was being tested:
Still unknown was the exact status of the president’s health. Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, said on Tuesday that the president “reports no symptoms” of the virus and that his vital signs were stable, but no one at the White House would say what the “expected findings” were on Mr. Trump’s chest X-ray that Dr. Conley had mentioned over the weekend.
There were no answers, either, on when Mr. Trump last tested negative for the virus — a crucial piece of information that the White House and Dr. Conley have refused to answer and would establish the known state of Mr. Trump’s health before the presidential debate last Tuesday or before he attended a fund-raiser in New Jersey on Thursday. The White House first made public that Mr. Trump had tested positive early last Friday.
Two officials maintained that Mr. Trump had been tested before the presidential debate, but the White House has yet to affirm that.
White House officials conceded on Tuesday that there had been an impression created that Mr. Trump was getting tested every day, and a reliance on testing as if it were a curative measure as opposed to a diagnostic.
Yet the president himself was not tested every day, according to two people familiar with the practices. A senior administration official would only say on Tuesday that Mr. Trump was tested “regularly.” Mr. Trump himself told reporters in the White House briefing room in July that “I do take probably on average a test every two days, three days.”
Jake Tapper has posted a timeline:
According to the NYT report, White House staff appears frustrated, as evidenced by the finger-pointing going on:
Ms. Hicks had been upset last week that she was being blamed for infecting the president, according to three people who had spoken with her. She had not attended a Rose Garden event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court and had tested positive for the virus on the same day as Mr. Trump and the first lady — making it just as likely that she had contracted the virus from the president.
Among White House advisers, anger grew at Ms. McEnany because her statement announcing her diagnosis appeared to blame Ms. Hicks. There was also frustration from many corners at Mr. Meadows for not doing more to try to protect the staff, a criticism that his defenders said was unfair given the scope of his duties.
Yet among other, less prominent staffers, there appears to be a sense of resignation:
On Monday night, some of the staff members still at the White House had gathered to watch Mr. Trump’s return. When he defiantly took off his mask on the Truman Balcony for a made-for-television moment, aides said it was of course a statement. But they also wondered if the face covering was making it harder for the president to breathe.
Either way, some of them shrugged off the message it was sending to tens of millions of Americans about taking the coronavirus seriously.
The sentiment, according to one aide to Mr. Trump, was that “it’s his house.”
But that’s the thing: it’s not his house. It’s the people’s house, and he owes the American public – for whom he works and answers to – a truthful and direct response via Dr. Conley about when he last tested negative for the virus.
For his part though, Dr. Conley has moved on from testing questions, and said this morning that things are going swimmingly well:
Trump has also been “fever-free for more than 4 days” and has not required supplemental oxygen since leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, said Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, in the memo.
“Of note today, the President’s labs demonstrated detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2-IgG antibodies from labs drawn Monday,” Conley added.
Conley’s brief memo did not include any specific updates on the president’s drug regimen. Trump, since testing positive for the coronavirus last week, has taken numerous treatments, including the steroid dexamethasone, the antiviral therapy remdesivir and an antibody cocktail from Regeneron.
But the memo did include remarks from Trump himself. “The President this morning says ‘I feel great!’” Conley wrote.
Oh, and PS:
Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic advisor, refused to tell CNBC if Trump has been wearing a mask as he returns to work.
Clearly, things are indeed going swimmingly well!