Donald Trump reportedly asked aides if he was doing to die from Covid while being airlifted to hospital – as a top official said his vitals are “very concerning” and the next 48 hours are “critical”.
It came on a morning of confusion over the President’s health as White House medics insisted he was in “great spirits” but Chief of Staff Mark Meadows suggested his condition had significantly deteriorated.
According to a Vanity Fair journalist, Trump asked his aides: “Am I going out like Stan Chera? Am I?”
Trump was referencing his New York City friend and real estate developer who died of coronavirus in April.
It comes as White House physician Dr Sean Conley, alongside nine other members of the president’s medical team, provided an update on his condition from the Walter Reed medical center.
Dr Conley said the president was in “exceptionally good spirits” and that Trump had said to doctors: “I feel like I could walk out of here today.”
In extraordinary scenes at the White House on Friday, Trump, 74, was rushed via helicopter to the medical center near capital Washington DC out after being struck down with the deadly bug on Thursday.
The medical team also confirmed that the president is likely to be on a five-day course of antiviral drug Remdesivir and has 13 doctors and nurses on hand.
Despite remaining in hospital, Conley confirmed that Trump has “plenty of work to get done from the Chief of Staff.”
Sources also told ABC that the president rested through the evening after experiencing shortness of breath due to the virus.
However, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows earlier told a pool of reporters that the road to recovery is not “clear” and “thenext 48 hours are critical” amid growing confusion over the President’s health.
Mr Meadows said: “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.”
Further confusion arose when Conley said in an update that Trump was “doing very well” and “is not requiring any supplemental oxygen”.
But this was again contradicted by an anonymous source who told the Associated Press that Trump was administered supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday – just hours before being flown to hospital.
The source claims to be familiar with Trump’s condition, but their identity remains unknown.
It represents the most serious health challenge to any sitting President in decades, and has put the US election in jeopardy with just weeks to go.
Hours after he was transported to the hospital via presidential helicopter Marine One, Trump tweeted: “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”
And tonight, following the medics’ briefing, the President appeared to be in good spirits, writing: “Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!
“Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE.
“With their help, I am feeling well!”
After it was reported Trump was “struggling to breathe,” White House doctor Sean P Conley said Trump was given a dose of Remdesivir.
The drug was approved for emergency use in the US in May amid the outbreak.
During his update, Dr Conley also sparked confusion after claiming the President was “72 hours into his diagnosis”.
This means that the President would have been diagnosed on Wednesday – which was a whole 36 hours before his illness was publicly reported.
During that time, Trump held a press briefing and also flew to Minnesota on Wednesday evening for a rally with thousands of supporters.
But a White House official later confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Dr Conley meant to say “Day 3” rather than 72 hours.
The source reiterated that Trump’s diagnosis had been made on Thursday night – the same day that the news was revealed publicly.
Earlier on Friday CNN reported after Trump’s hospitalisation that White House officials “have serious concerns about Trump’s condition tonight.”
Sources said Trump’s “symptoms are worse than those of the First Lady at this point.”
One adviser to Trump told CNN: “This is serious.”
Trump is reported to be “very tired, very fatigued, and having some trouble breathing”.
A White House official insisted Trump is “fatigued,” but he’s not “deteriorating”.
But they insisted that the American public shouldn’t be worried, and that Trump is taking the illness “very seriously”.
However, contrary to CNN’s sources, a senior Trump administration official told Fox News that Trump is not struggling to breathe.
The official said such reports about Trump having a hard time are “downright disgraceful.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said per Fox News that he’s spoken with Trump, and described him as “upbeat.”
McCarthy said Trump “told me that he appreciates all the prayers and support from everyone. Our president is strong and will beat the virus!” – The Sun.