Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s condition with COVID-19 became so concerning last year that there was talk of putting him on a ventilator, according to what Trump told one person at the time, raising questions over whether the White House downplayed the seriousness of his situation.
The new details of what happened while Trump was hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in October were first reported by The New York Times on Thursday. CNN reported at the time that Trump had received supplemental oxygen, citing a source with knowledge of Trump’s treatment.
The details invite new scrutiny over waffling remarks by Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, who last year refused to directly answer reporters’ questions about whether Trump was on oxygen, repeatedly emphasizing that he was not “right now.” When he was asked if Trump had received it at all, Conley said: “He has not needed any this morning, today at all.” Asked if he had ever been on supplemental oxygen as part of his treatment, Conley said: “Right now he is not,” adding, “Yesterday and today, he was not on oxygen.”
Mark Meadows, who was White House chief of staff, was forced to clarify Conley’s remarks to reporters the following day, in which he conceded Trump’s vitals “were very concerning” and that he was “still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
The New York Times report also said Trump was found to have lung infiltrates, “which occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria.” The report added that their presence could be “sign of an acute case of the disease.”