Tuesday, 6 October 2020

'I will die for Trump': Moment VERY excited man gets a wave from Trump during Walter Reed drive-by as supporters from all over America turn out for the president

 Donald Trump supporters from around the country flocked to Walter Reed hospital over the weekend to rally around the president as he battles coronavirus.  

The streets surrounding the military medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, were transformed into a makeshift campaign event within hours of the president's hospitalization on Friday afternoon as supporters turned out with Trump 2020 flags and signs wishing him a speedy recovery.   

By Sunday afternoon hundreds of people had joined the cause, as the Trump campaign began handing out pizza, candy and water to the crowds corralled behind metal barricades.  

Itching to get back on the campaign trail and prove that he's doing well, Trump broke free of his presidential hospital suite that evening to pay his fans a surprise visit with a joyride around the hospital, despite the fact that he remains highly contagious. 

The electricity of the crowd was captured in a Twitter video in which a supporter could be heard shouting: 'God bless our president, I will die for him!'  

A smaller group convened outside the hospital again on Monday morning as Trump's doctors indicated he could be discharged later in the day. By late afternoon dozens of people had gathered after the president announced that he'll be leaving at 6.30pm.  

Trump supporter shouts 'I will die for him' outside Walter Reed
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Donald Trump supporters from around the country flocked to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda over the weekend to rally around the president as he battles the coronavirus. Pictured: A group camps outside the hospital on Monday waiting for the president to be discharged

Donald Trump supporters from around the country flocked to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda over the weekend to rally around the president as he battles the coronavirus. Pictured: A group camps outside the hospital on Monday waiting for the president to be discharged 

The streets surrounding Walter Reed were transformed into a makeshift campaign event within hours of the president's hospitalization on Friday afternoon as supporters turned out with Trump 2020 flags and signs wishing him a speedy recovery

 The streets surrounding Walter Reed were transformed into a makeshift campaign event within hours of the president's hospitalization on Friday afternoon as supporters turned out with Trump 2020 flags and signs wishing him a speedy recovery

By Sunday afternoon hundreds of people had joined the cause, as the Trump campaign began handing out pizza, candy and water to the crowds corralled behind metal barricades

 By Sunday afternoon hundreds of people had joined the cause, as the Trump campaign began handing out pizza, candy and water to the crowds corralled behind metal barricades

A lone Joe Biden supporter stands among a flock of Trump fans outside Walter Reed on Sunday afternoon

A lone Joe Biden supporter stands among a flock of Trump fans outside Walter Reed on Sunday afternoon

President Trump rewarded his fans' loyalty by breaking free of his hospital suite on Sunday evening to take a joyride around the complex and wave to fans

President Trump rewarded his fans' loyalty by breaking free of his hospital suite on Sunday evening to take a joyride around the complex and wave to fans 

Fans went wild as Trump drove by in an SUV on Sunday evening and police cautioned them to remain behind barricades

Fans went wild as Trump drove by in an SUV on Sunday evening and police cautioned them to remain behind barricades

Trump also addressed the country in a video from inside the hospital on Sunday night (pictured)

Trump also addressed the country in a video from inside the hospital on Sunday night (pictured)

A group camps outside the hospital on Monday morning after Trump's doctors said he could be discharged later in the day

A group camps outside the hospital on Monday morning after Trump's doctors said he could be discharged later in the day

By mid-afternoon Monday the group had grown substantially as Trump announced he would be leaving by 6.30pm

By mid-afternoon Monday the group had grown substantially as Trump announced he would be leaving by 6.30pm

The last several days have proved unpredictable for the Trump administration as they battled both illness and dwindling poll numbers just one month before the contentious November election.

It was confirmed early Friday morning that Trump and First Lady Melania tested positive following several days of campaign rallies and Tuesday's debate with Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Nearly a dozen people who worked at the first presidential debate tested positive after Chris Wallace, moderator and Fox News anchor, claimed that the Trump family did not undergo prior testing and refused to wear masks. 

At least seven of Trump's inner circle, including Kellyanne Conway, revealed they were infected after attending Amy Coney Barrett's 'superspreader' Supreme Court Justice nomination in the Rose Garden last week.   


With Trump sidelined from the campaign trail until he's no longer contagious, his supporters began staging their own rallies across the country, with the largest taking place just a few hundred yards from the president's hospital bed.  

Supporters began arriving at Walter Reed on Saturday morning, armed with MAGA flags, uplifting signs and small tributes for the president, including flowers and stuffed animals.  

Despite the circumstances that landed Trump in the hospital, the crowds were largely mask-less and ignoring social distancing recommendations. 

Among the most notable attendees of Saturday's gathering were members of the Proud Boys, the far-right group that Trump told to 'stand back and stand by' during last week's debate. 

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was photographed in the crowd as people around him chanted: 'Gavin! Gavin!'

Caravans of cars drove down the street honking on Saturday and Sunday in hopes that Trump would hear their support

Caravans of cars drove down the street honking on Saturday and Sunday in hopes that Trump would hear their support

Pizza provided by the Trump campaign is seen on the ground after most crowds dispersed on Sunday night

Pizza provided by the Trump campaign is seen on the ground after most crowds dispersed on Sunday night 

Trump supporters are eager to see the president return to the campaign trail as the election approaches in less than a month

Trump supporters are eager to see the president return to the campaign trail as the election approaches in less than a month

A man raises a salute outside Walter Reed on Monday while holding a 'Trump 2020' flag

A man raises a salute outside Walter Reed on Monday while holding a 'Trump 2020' flag

Only a small portion of the supporters at Walter Reed wore masks, despite the circumstances that landed Trump there

Only a small portion of the supporters at Walter Reed wore masks, despite the circumstances that landed Trump there

Dozens of 'Trump 2020' and American flags lined the street outside Walter Reed on Sunday when Trump drove by

Dozens of 'Trump 2020' and American flags lined the street outside Walter Reed on Sunday when Trump drove by

Well-wishers camp outside Walter Reed hospital on Sunday armed with various MAGA gear and signs

Well-wishers camp outside Walter Reed hospital on Sunday armed with various MAGA gear and signs

Trump supporters rally outside Walter Reed Medical Center
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An even larger crowd turned out on Sunday after the White House admitted that Trump's condition was more severe than previously indicated - an admission officials made only after several leaks, including from Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. 

Local police set up barricades to keep the crowds from spilling into the streets, where caravans of cars drove by honking in support of the president. 

Many of the supporters drove hundreds of miles to the hospital, including a nurse from North Carolina named Tamara. 

'I feel that there's more power in prayer, to be honest,' Tamara told Politico while wearing a star-spangled MAGA hat and holding a 'We Heart Trump' sign. 'So I wanted to come here and be with people and actually be near him as much as possible to pray for him.'

'These people are just as enthused as they are at regular Trump rallies,' a man named John told the outlet as he sold various MAGA merchandise out of a shopping cart. 

Trump rewarded the show of loyalty on Sunday evening by briefly venturing out in a motorcade to salute cheering supporters, a move that disregarded precautions meant to contain the deadly virus that has forced his hospitalization and killed more than 209,000 Americans. 

Hours earlier, Trump's medical team reported that his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick. Still, the doctors said Trump's health is improving and that he could be discharged as early as Monday.

With one month until Election Day, Trump was eager to project strength despite his illness from behind a mask and the tinted windows of his SUV. 

The move capped a weekend of contradictions that fueled confusion about Trump's health, which has imperiled the leadership of the US government and upended the final stages of the presidential campaign. 

An SUV transports Trump and several Secret Service agents down the street outside the hospital on Sunday evening

An SUV transports Trump and several Secret Service agents down the street outside the hospital on Sunday evening

Trump smiles behind his mask and flashes two thumbs up as he passes by supporters on Sunday evening

Trump smiles behind his mask and flashes two thumbs up as he passes by supporters on Sunday evening

A large law enforcement presence was outside the hospital on Sunday as the crowds expanded

A large law enforcement presence was outside the hospital on Sunday as the crowds expanded 

Some of the supporters stepped out into the street despite police barricades holding them back

Some of the supporters stepped out into the street despite police barricades holding them back

Police officers watch over a throng of Trump supporters ignoring social distancing guidelines on Sunday afternoon

Police officers watch over a throng of Trump supporters ignoring social distancing guidelines on Sunday afternoon

Crowds remained outside Walter Reed even after the sun went down on Sunday night

Crowds remained outside Walter Reed even after the sun went down on Sunday night 

A pile of flowers and balloons sits on the sign outside Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Monday morning

A pile of flowers and balloons sits on the sign outside Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Monday morning

While Trump's physician offered a rosy prognosis on his condition, his briefings lacked basic information, including the findings of lung scans, or were quickly muddled by more serious assessments of the president's health by other officials.

In a short video released by the White House on Sunday, Trump insisted he understood the gravity of the moment. But his actions moments later, by leaving the hospital and sitting inside the SUV with others, suggested otherwise.

'This is insanity,' said Dr James P Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed who is a critic of Trump and his handling of the pandemic. 'Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential "drive-by" just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die.'

'For political theater,' the doctor added. 'Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.'

White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump's trip outside the hospital 'was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.' He added that precautions were taken, including using personal protective equipment, to protect Trump as well as White House officials and Secret Service agents.

Joe Biden's campaign, meanwhile, said the Democratic presidential nominee again tested negative for coronavirus Sunday. The results come five days after Biden spent more than 90 minutes on the debate stage with Trump. Biden, who has taken a far more cautious approach to in-person events, had two negative tests on Friday.

For his part, Trump still faces questions about his health.

His doctors sidestepped questions on Sunday about exactly when Trump's blood oxygen dropped - an episode they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before - or whether lung scans showed any damage.

It was the second straight day of obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with the American public about the severity of his condition.

Trump says he's 'feeling much better' and 'we'll beat coronavirus'
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Over the weekend Trump's team offered a number of conflicting reports surrounding the president's illness, sowing doubt about when he tested positive and how severe his symptoms have been. Pictured: Trump delivers an address in a Twitter video on Saturday night

Over the weekend Trump's team offered a number of conflicting reports surrounding the president's illness, sowing doubt about when he tested positive and how severe his symptoms have been. Pictured: Trump delivers an address in a Twitter video on Saturday night

The White House released this photo of Trump working at Walter Reed on Saturday night

The White House released this photo of Trump working at Walter Reed on Saturday night

Trump's personal physician Sean Conley (pictured) offered a vague update on his condition outside Walter Reed on Saturday morning, saying the president is doing 'very well'
But after the presser Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (pictured) told a pool reporter: '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'

Trump's personal physician Sean Conley (left) offered a vague update on his condition outside Walter Reed on Saturday morning, saying the president is doing 'very well'. But after the presser Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (right) told a pool reporter: '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'

Doctors say Trump in 'exceptionally good spirits'
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Pressed about conflicting information he and the White House released on Saturday, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley acknowledged that he had tried to present a sunnier description of the president´s condition.

'I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had. Didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,' Conley said. 

'And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true. The fact of the matter is that he's doing really well.'

Medical experts said Conley's revelations were hard to square with his positive assessment and talk of a discharge.

'There's a little bit of a disconnect,' said Dr Steven Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

According to CDC guidelines, 'In general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes.'

Even before Trump's motorcade outing on Sunday, some Secret Service agents have expressed concern about the lackadaisical attitude toward masks and social distancing inside the White House, but there isn't much they can do, according to agents and officials who spoke to The Associated Press. 

This close to the election, thousands of agents are engaged on protective duty so they can be subbed out quickly should someone test positive.    

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