By Tim Darnell – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ArLuther Lee – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
President Donald Trump was released from Walter Reed Medical Center Monday after spending the last three days being treated at the facility for the coronavirus, even though his chief physician said the commander in chief “is not entirely out of the woods yet.”
The president emerged about 6:39 p.m. local time and walked out of the hospital under his own strength. He was wearing a mask and did not take questions, although he did give reporters a thumbs up.
Trump was set to arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue about 10 minutes away aboard Marine One, which arrived at Walter Reed shortly after 6 p.m., according to reporter Danielle Kurtzleben.
Reports said Trump wanted “to make a dramatic exit” from the hospital by exiting through the golden front doors of the facility on camera, Bloomberg News reported.
Camera lights were erected on the steps just outside the building along with a security perimeter where reporters were gathered.
Before leaving, the president reportedly shot a video inside. After leaving the hospital in an SUV, he was taken to Marine One for the short flight back to the South Lawn of the White House.
White House aides were reportedly not sure the president would follow a plan to avoid the Oval Office upon his return.
Multiple areas inside the residence, including the Map Room, were being prepared for the president to work, according to reports.
About an hour and a half before leaving the hospital Trump tweeted about the daily closing on Wall Street.
“STOCK MARKET UP BIG, 466 Points! 28,149. Great News for America. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”
Earlier in the day Trump tweeted the news of his departure before a scheduled 3 p.m. media briefing led by Trump’s physician Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley.
Conley said the president is continuing to do well and his team of physicians approved the transfer. The president received his third dose of Remdesivir and will have one more before leaving the hospital. Trump will undergo a fifth coronavirus treatment at the White House on Tuesday.
“We send patients home with medication all the time,” Conley said, adding the president had made all of his discharge benchmarks on Sunday. Conley said there is nothing that can be done at Walter Reed “that can’t be done at the White House.”
Conley said he was “not at liberty to discuss” Trump’s lung scans while he was hospitalized, citing medical privacy laws. He added that the president would have “world-class medical care” at the White House, and will continue to receive dexomethosone, a steroid with possible side effects.
Ahead of the president’s return to the White House, Vice President Mike Pence left Washington en route to Wednesday’s debate in Salt Lake City. Before boarding Air Force Two Pence said he spoke to the president, who told him to go to Utah.
In light of recent events, the Commission on Presidential Debates has approved a plan to keep the contestants separated by plexiglass, according to Politico.
When asked whether Trump could return to the campaign trail, Conley said, “as far as travel goes, we’ll see.”
Trump said he was still planning to participate in the Oct. 15 debate with Joe Biden in Miami, according to CNN.
Shortly before noon on Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she has tested positive for the coronavirus, and is beginning the quarantine process.
About an hour later, White House Assistant Press Secretaries Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt reportedly also tested positive for COVID-19.
Shortly before 8 a.m., White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he had spoken with his boss earlier in the morning. Meadows told Fox News Trump is continuing to improve “and is ready to get back to a normal working schedule.”
“This is an important day as the president continues to improve and is ready to get back to a normal work schedule,” Meadows said. He said the determination on whether Trump would leave the hospital won’t be made until later in the day after the president is evaluated by his medical team, but that Trump was “optimistic” he could be released Monday.