The Slatest

Update: Contagious President Has Succeeded at Escaping His Captors Like a Zoo Animal

Trump, seated at a conference room table inside the Walter Reed Medical Center, looks into the camera.
If you see this man, lock your door and call the police. Tia Dufour/The White House via Getty Images

Update, Oct. 5, 3 p.m.: The reports were correct! Trump has announced that he’ll be leaving for the White House at 6:30 p.m. There’s no indication that he’s no longer contagious—it would be very surprising if he was, given his symptoms and the time of his diagnosis—so … this will be interesting!

Original post, Oct. 5, 2 p.m.: Has Donald Trump’s experience suffering from COVID-19 “sobered him up” and given him an increased appreciation for how serious the disease is—and how critical it is that he, as the president but also simply as a human being—take every possible precaution to prevent even one more American from contracting it?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

No. [Exhaling deeply and wiping a tear from my eye] No.

According to the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, Trump—who, according to his personal doctor, is still experiencing “frequent ups and downs” in the progression of his highly contagious illness—tried to get himself discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday. Medical authorities said no, so he took a ride outside in a Chevy Suburban (with other people inside it) as a “compromise.”

Haberman’s report calls into question Trump’s claim, made in a video released Sunday, that he has “learned a lot about COVID” during his hospital stay. (“I learned it by really going to school,” he elaborated. “This is the real school. This isn’t the ‘let’s read the book’ school. And I get it. And I understand it.”)

Here is what CNN’s Jim Acosta reports about why the president wants to be discharged (it’s not because he’s feeling better and no longer presents a risk to others):

President Donald Trump was demanding to go back to the White House on Sunday, two sources familiar with the situation told CNN.

“He is done with the hospital,” one of the sources said of Trump’s mood yesterday.

Trump is concerned the sight of him being hospitalized “makes him look weak,” the other source said.

Chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was present inside a conference room with Trump Sunday while the president posed for a photo in which he wasn’t wearing a mask, said Monday morning that he is “optimistic” Trump will return to his residence by the end of the day. If Trump does go back to the White House, he will arrive there to find that his personal assistant, his press secretary, and two of his press secretary’s deputies are among the co-workers of his who have now announced positive COVID-19 tests. Others who have been diagnosed in recent days include the president’s campaign manager, one of his current top advisers, one of his former top advisers, one of his debate-preparation consultants, his wife, and the head of the Republican Party.

The White House doesn’t seem like a very healthy place to be at this moment. Perhaps he should go somewhere more safe, like another country.

For more on Trump’s illness, subscribe to What Next on Apple Podcasts or listen below.