Donald Trump hated to be seen as weak and was reluctant to be hospitalized with COVID-19, even though his blood oxygen level was “dangerously low,” former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed in his upcoming book.
Trump has denied his illness with the coronavirus last year was serious. He tweeted before he left Walter Reed Medical Center: “Don’t be afraid of COVID” — and immediately yanked off his mask when he got to the White House.
Just hours after Trump announced on Twitter Oct. 2, 2020, that he had tested positive, he recorded a blood oxygen level of about 86%, Meadows wrote in “The Chief’s Chief,” a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. Most healthy people have a blood oxygen level of about 95% to 98%.
Dr. Sean Conley, head of Trump’s medical team, told Meadows that Trump’s blood oxygen was “a dangerously low level for someone his age,” the former chief of staff wrote.
Trump’s health deteriorated so quickly that his medical team feared they wouldn’t be able to adequately treat him in the White House and needed to move him to a hospital. They relied on Meadows to convince Trump.
Meadows recounted going to Trump’s residence at the White House, finding him in bed in a T-shirt, his hair “a mess,” “red streaks in his eyes,” and an oxygen tank at his side.
“I’ve lost so much strength,” Meadows quoted Trump as telling him. “The muscles are just not responding.”
Meadows wrote that he finally convinced Trump to leave for Walter Reed by telling him: “It’s better that you walk out of here today under your own strength, your own power, than for me to have to carry you out on a gurney in two days.”
As Trump walked to his helicopter, he was so weak that he dropped a briefcase that he had planned to carry outside, according to Meadows.
Soon, with some of the best medical care in the world, Trump was feeling much better, Meadows said — even ordering McDonald’s hamburgers to eat in the hospital, according to Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
Meadows’ book is out Tuesday.