Despite testing positive for the coronavirus less than a week ago, President Donald Trump returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon and released a video where he declared himself cured as a result of the experimental antibody drug cocktail he'd been administered.
"To me, it wasn't a therapeutic. It just made me better. I call that a cure," Trump said in a five-minute video he tweeted out of himself standing in front of the Oval. The video showed Trump, his skin looking darker than it had during his hospital stay, speaking quickly, and his voice sounded jittery.
Trump, for the first time since his diagnosis was made public, seemed to take note that the care he'd received was different from the care received by the general public.
"I walked in, I didn't feel good. A short 24 hours later I was feeling great. I wanted to get out of the hospital. And that's what I want for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great," Trump said, calling his experience a "blessing from God" and saying he selected the drug cocktail he was treated with. "It was my suggestion," he said.
"if you're in the hospital, and you're feeling really bad, I think we're going to work it so that you get them you're going to get them free. And especially if you're a senior, we're going to get you in there quick. We have hundreds of thousands of doses that are just about ready," he said, before dropping the "I think" qualifier later in the video.
"I want to get you what I got, and I'm going to make it free," he said, adding, "We're going to get it in to the hospital as soon as you can, as soon as we can" with "military" handling the distribution. He ended the message by saying, "Good luck."
Asked about Trump's "blessing" comment, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, "I think it's a tragedy the president deals with Covid like it is something not to be worried about when already 210,000 people have died. I think it's a travesty."
A source told NBC News that it's impossible to know whether it was Regeneron’s antibody cocktail or the combination of all the drugs Trump has been treated with that have made the president feel as good as he says he does.
Regeneron has said it will have 50,000 doses of the cocktail soon and 300,000 doses available in the next few months.
A senior administration official said Trump had gone to the Oval Office for a briefing on Hurricane Delta and on stimulus talks. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and social media director Dan Scavino were the only staffers with him in the Oval, the official said.
Meadows told reporters afterward that he and Scavino both wore full personal protective equipment while in the Oval.
"Was just briefed on Hurricane Delta, and spoke with @GovAbbott of Texas and @LouisianaGov John Bel Edwards. Please heed the directions of your State and Local Officials. We are working with them very closely — please be prepared, be careful, and be safe!" Trump tweeted after the meeting.
His presence in the office was tipped by the sight of a Marine guard standing outside. The guard was not wearing a mask.
The trip was surprising for multiple reasons — Trump has been undergoing treatment for Covid-19, and officials have said he wasn't diagnosed until late last Thursday. That means he's still considered contagious under his administration's own guidelines.
The Oval Office is opposite the White House residence, where Trump has been since his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday — meaning the contagious president walked across the property to get there, but did not enter the West Wing other than through the office's outside doors.
It wasn't necessary for the president to make the trip since the East Wing, where the residence is, has an office.
Meadows said earlier on Wednesday that Trump “wanted to go to the Oval yesterday. If he decides to go the Oval, we've got safety protocols.” He didn't describe what those protocols are.
The White House has been hit hard by the virus in the past week as top aides Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller have tested positive for the coronavirus, as has press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, numerous members of the press office and White House staff.
Prior to the video, the president hadn't been seen publicly since Monday night when he returned to White House from the hospital, and Trump's doctors have been guarded about revealing details of his condition.
White House physician Dr. Sean Conley wrote in a memo released by the White House on Wednesday morning quoting Trump as saying, "I feel great!"
“His physical exam and vital signs, including oxygen saturation and respiratory rate, all remain stable and in normal range. He’s now been fever-free for more than 4 days, symptom free for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalization,” Conley wrote.
The White House has not made public when Trump’s most recent negative test was before announcing he was positive for the virus late last week. Doctors have also not revealed details of his lung scans and did not say whether he is still on the steroid treatment Dexamethasone.
On Monday, Conley said doctors wouldn't know if Trump was "out of the woods" until after this weekend.