Ignoring criticism of his earlier decision to leave the hospital where he is being treated for coronavirus to pay crowds a “surprise visit”, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter in a barrage of posts overnight.
In the space of just one hour, Mr Trump tweeted a total of 18 times, but made no mention of his stunt just hours earlier which saw him leave the Walter Reed military hospital to greet Republican Party supporters gathered outside.
It comes as Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News the President is continuing to improve and will meet with his medical team amid hopes that he will be able to leave the hospital within the next 24 hours.
“Spoke to the President this morning. He continued to improve overnight and is ready to get back to a normal working schedule. He will meet with his doctors and nurses this morning to make further assessments of his progress,” Meadows said.
“We are still optimistic that he will be able to return to the White House later today.”
Earlier, during the controversial visit, the 74-year-old waved at crowds waving flags and signs from his motorcade, sparking outcry from Dr James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed.
The President has been criticised for putting at risk the safety of his security officers sitting with him in the vehicle for the sake of a photo opp.
“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” Dr Phillips tweeted.
“The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. “The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”
Dr Phillips noted that “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 theatre. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theatre. This is insanity.”
Meanwhile former Director of Global Engagement at the White House under Barack Obama, Brett Bruen, said he was “alarmed” when he saw the images of President Trump.
“All for what? So the President could create a photo opp? It just seemed rather ridiculous and quite frankly, rather appalling,” he told the BBC.
Despite the controversy, Mr Trump posted a series of messages urging supporters to vote in the upcoming November 3 election.
We’ll list the tweets in full below.
President Trump followed the tweets with a link to voting information for a number of US states, pleading with supporters to “Make America Great Again (MAGA)”.
It comes amid growing concerns over Mr Trump’s health, after his medical team revealed two huge clues that he may be sicker than widely believed.
During today’s briefing, White House physician Dr Sean Conley revealed the President’s blood oxygen level dropped twice in the two days following his COVID-19 diagnosis, with the incidents needing medical intervention.
And Dr Conley also announced that Mr Trump had been prescribed dexamethasone – a strong steroid usually reserved for only the sickest coronavirus patients, as it can actually harm those with less severe cases and suppress the immune system.
Meanwhile, White House employees who develop potential coronavirus symptoms have been asked to “please stay home” in an email obtained by New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi.
“As a reminder, if you are experiencing any symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fever, headache, new loss of taste or smell, muscle aches, chills, diarrhoea, or difficulty breathing, please stay home and do not come to work until you are free of any symptoms,” the email reads.
“Affected staff should inform their supervisors and seek care from their primary care provider.”