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'What is this macho thing?' Joe Biden leads critics accusing Trump of downplaying COVID as he rips off his mask and tells the US 'don't be afraid' - but he appears to be gasping for air as he returns to the White House

 Joe Biden has led a chorus of condemnation of Donald Trump for telling Americans not to be 'afraid' of a virus which has killed 200,000 people and whipping off his face mask on his return to the White House, potentially infecting staff members to stage a campaign photo opportunity.

Trump declared he felt 'great', told people not to let the virus 'dominate your lives' and claimed he could even be immune from COVID-19 in a video filmed at the White House after his theatrical return from Walter Reed hospital. 

But the president's doctors say he may not be 'entirely out of the woods yet', and Trump, 74, appeared to be grimacing and taking labored breaths as he stood on the White House balcony.  

Biden, 77, said on Monday night that the president was 'responsible' for his COVID-19 infection and blasted the 'macho' attitude that avoids mask wearing. 

'Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, 'masks don't matter, social distancing doesn't matter,' I think is responsible for what happens to them,' Biden said after Trump posed without a face covering. 

'What is this macho thing, 'I'm not going to wear a mask?' What's the deal here? Big deal, does it hurt you? Be patriotic for god's sake! Take care of yourself, but take care of your neighbors,' Biden said. 

He also said he 'wasn't surprised' when Trump tested positive for the virus, amid a White House outbreak which has infected more than a dozen of the president's associates including Hope Hicks and Kayleigh McEnany. 

'For the last three months, three times a week, I'm on the telephone and on Zoom with some of the leading immunologists in the nation, and they go through everything that's happening,' Biden said.

'And so the idea that COVID does not spread in proximity when you don't have a mask on, when you're not socially distancing, when there's large groups of people, when you're inside in particular and even when you're outside, that's not surprising.'

Biden said during an NBC town hall on Monday night that he was glad Trump seemed to be recovering well, 'but there's a lot to be concerned about - 210,000 people have died. I hope no one walks away with the message that it's not a problem.' 

The president's dismissive message - 'don't be afraid of COVID... don't let it dominate your life' - immediately met with anger from critics who said it was putting Americans at risk.  

Dr Susan Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association, warned last night that 'the only thing we have to fear is complacency'. 

'More than 200,000 of our loved ones have died because of COVID-19, and it has caused suffering and illness to countless more - sometimes with long-term health consequences,' she said. 

'We know vigilance is the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic because this virus doesn't feed on fear; it feeds on complacency.' 

Liza Billings, a New York City nurse whose brother died because of COVID-19, told ABC News that Trump's message was 'a slap in the face' to bereaved families. 

'It's a callous and dangerous remark that will do nothing to stop this horrifying pandemic, and may even make it worse,' she said.  

Trump says 'don't be afraid' of coronavirus at the White House
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Donald Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday night and immediately filmed a campaign video

Donald Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday night and immediately filmed a campaign video

President Donald Trump walked up the steps of the White House then paused to take his face mask off before entering

President Donald Trump walked up the steps of the White House then paused to take his face mask off before entering

Donald Trump, whose infection with COVID-19 was confirmed at 1am on Friday, removed his face mask on Monday night

Donald Trump, whose infection with COVID-19 was confirmed at 1am on Friday, removed his face mask on Monday night 

Donald Trump took off his face mask to stand on the balcony, without a mask, with staff members near by

Donald Trump took off his face mask to stand on the balcony, without a mask, with staff members near by


Some medics who watched Trump's return thought he appeared to be short of breath after his coronavirus infection

Some medics who watched Trump's return thought he appeared to be short of breath after his coronavirus infection  

The president gave his trademark pose of two thumbs up as he returned home after his hospital treatment

The president gave his trademark pose of two thumbs up as he returned home after his hospital treatment

Trump salutes to Marine One as he stands on the White House balcony without a mask in a theatrical return from the hospital

Trump salutes to Marine One as he stands on the White House balcony without a mask in a theatrical return from the hospital

Donald Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday evening, taking his face mask off despite being infectious

Donald Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday evening, taking his face mask off despite being infectious 

The president on Monday night returned to the White House, where Melania Trump is fighting COVID-19

The president on Monday night returned to the White House, where Melania Trump is fighting COVID-19

The White House was lit up for the return of the president, after three nights in the Walter Reed military hospital

The White House was lit up for the return of the president, after three nights in the Walter Reed military hospital

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, has refused to say how many are sick. She too now has COVID-19

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, has refused to say how many are sick. She too now has COVID-19


Another bereaved citizen, Kristin Urquiza, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention about her father's death from COVID-19, retorted to Trump that 'at this point the only thing we should be afraid of is you'.  

Former Obama aide David Axelrod branded Trump a 'super spreader of dangerous untruths', adding: 'Do not follow his advice. Yes, BE afraid of COVID, and act accordingly: masks; social distancing; frequent hand-washing.'

There was also criticism from Hollywood, with Captain America star Chris Evans describing Trump's remark as 'reckless to a shocking degree, even for you'. 

'Don't be afraid of Covid?! You've been under round-the-clock care by the best doctors using the best drugs,' Evans said. 

'Do you really think everyone has access to that?! Sadly, I'm sure you're aware of that disparity, you just don't care.'

Bernie Sanders, Biden's defeated rival in the Democratic primary, said that Trump's urging of Americans not to 'be afraid' of the virus was 'absurd'. 

'Where millions of people have lost their jobs, where people are facing hunger and eviction, to say don't be afraid of the COVID-19 (disease) is an absurd statement,' he told the Detroit Free Press

'Of course, we should be afraid of it. It has wreaked havoc on our economy and on all of our lives.

'I would suggest to you that one of the key issues in this campaign is which candidate will be better able to turn this virus around, to get a handle on it and to regrow the economy once we do that. And I think the answer is, obviously, Joe Biden.

Trump walked out of Walter Reed Monday, took Marine One back to the White House – and took off his mask almost immediately despite being sick with COVID and depending on a cocktail of experimental drugs for his recovery.

He saluted, waved, and then started filming a video on the balcony of the South Portico, returning to an executive mansion where multiple aides and household staff also have the virus, and from where he promises he will soon leave to hit the campaign trail. 

Removing his mask was a jarring end to three days of drama which saw him medevaced to Walter Reed on Marine One on Friday, revealed to have been on oxygen repeatedly, and treated with drugs not available to ordinary Americans.

Trump also declared that he was 'better' and could even be immune from Covid-19, despite his physician's warning that the president 'may not entirely be out of the woods yet'.  

As Trump entered the White House, two staffers were visible behind him: official photographer Andrea Hanks filmed his arrival back to the executive mansion with a videographer standing by for a campaign video.

Less than half an hour later the video emerged: a slow-motion, cinematic production showing an apparently vital commander-in-chief's return, with only the site of Marines in masks giving away the fact that Trump was so ill that he was given oxygen and steroids normally reserved for people on ventilators. 

Even as he stood on the balcony, Trump appeared to be wincing in pain as he breathed, with medics who saw the video saying the president appeared to be 'short of breath'. 

One medical worker said: 'As an ICU nurse, what do I see? I see a man using his accessory muscles to take a deep breath.

'His sternocleidomastoid neck muscles stretching, his intercostal chest and shoulder muscles in use. Grimacing every two seconds. He still has labored breathing.' 

Also waiting his arrival was trade adviser Peter Navarro, 71, who stood at the entrance.

Navarro is himself at elevated risk thanks to his age but he has been an advocate of hydroxychloroquine in the past.  

Having gone inside, Trump went back out to the balcony almost immediately, apparently to reshoot the video – extending the exposure of his aides to the virus.

His move was on the day that the CDC officially warned that the coronavirus is spread through the air.

The White House was readied for Trump's return by workers in protective suits, spraying disinfectant

The White House was readied for Trump's return by workers in protective suits, spraying disinfectant

A member of the White House cleaning staff sanitizes the press area of the building after reporters also fell ill from COVID

A member of the White House cleaning staff sanitizes the press area of the building after reporters also fell ill from COVID

Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted the 'macho' refusal to wear masks just minutes after President Trump staged a photo-op and returned to the White House from the hospital and then removed his own mask.

Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted the 'macho' refusal to wear masks just minutes after President Trump staged a photo-op and returned to the White House from the hospital and then removed his own mask. 


Trump returns to a White House which has been devastated by the virus since he left. Inside the residence is the sick First Lady; upstairs in the housekeeping department two staff have tested positive.

In the West Wing, the Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two of her aides have tested positive – after she tested negative for days and spent the time briefing reporters without a mask – along with others members of his inner circle.


His bodyman Nick Luna, one of the few staff who moves between the East and West Wings is positive; his attorney general Bill Barr, 70, is self-isolating after going to the unveiling of Amy Coney Barrett as the Supreme Court nominee on the previous Saturday and funding himself at a super spreader event.

Chris Christie, who was there and prepared Trump for his debate, is in the hospital after testing positive. Three Republican senators, two clerics – a Catholic priest and an evangelical pastor – and his former aide Kellyanne Conway are all positive after the same event.

Outside his polls have plunged again, his rival Biden hit the campaign trail and then national television with a town hall at 8pm EST on NBC with Lester Holt from Florida, where Republicans are fighting a rearguard action against a tide of Democratic cash.  

Before he left Walter Reed Trump tweeted 'do not let it dominate your life' after receiving the combination of experimental treatments. The U.S. death toll stood at 210,013 and earlier in the day Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the country was 'not in a good place.'  

On Monday evening his campaign released a parody video of the president dodging what appeared to be the coronavirus before scoring a touchdown. 

In the clip, which is a parody of a San Francisco 49ers game highlight, shows Trump's face on the body of rookie wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk. 

The video shows Trump hurdling a defender that appeared to be the coronavirus.  

Trump is then seen making a touchdown before being tackled by another player. 

The real moment occurred during an NFL game between the 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. 

The Eagles - the virus - won 25-20. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that Americans should not 'trivialize COVID-19' after Trump left hospital just days after testing positive for the virus.  

'I think anybody who is looking at this realistically has to say this is a very serious situation. Even though it's confused by the fact that such a substantial portion of people generally do quite well. But it is a very serious disease that we need to reckon with,' he said on Monday, speaking at The New Yorker festival.  

Fauci was asked about Trump's messaging and how it should be perceived. 

'Obviously, the message should be that we should try as best as we can to avoid infection. No matter who you are, how old you are, or what your underlying condition is, we should not trivialize it,' Fauci said.  

Joe Biden posted a side-by-side video of Trump taking his mask off and Biden putting one on

Joe Biden posted a side-by-side video of Trump taking his mask off and Biden putting one on 

Marine One landed back at the White House on Monday evening as the sun was setting

Marine One landed back at the White House on Monday evening as the sun was setting 

Admirers of the president waved and cheered as Marine One took off for the short trip back to the White House

Admirers of the president waved and cheered as Marine One took off for the short trip back to the White House


Trump had walked out of the hospital at 6:40pm.

Before he departed, aides set up lights outside the hospital doors to set the scene for the president's big moment, giving Trump the dramatic, 'made-for-TV' moments he loves. 

Trump turned his exit from the hospital into a show of strength, walking out the door and pumping his fist and giving a thumbs up sign as he walked to an SUV saying: 'Thank you everybody.'

But he was asked by a waiting reporter: 'How many of your staff are sick? Are you a super spreader?'

He wore a surgical mask.  

He was followed by Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, Dan Scavino, his director of social media, and Dr Sean Conley, his osteopath White House physician. 

All three of the aides were wearing face shields and what appeared to be N-95 masks. They were followed by Secret Service agents, also in more PPE than Trump.  

Marine One lifted off at 6:45pm, and landed at 6:55pm on the South Lawn of the White House. 

Marine One's crew will have to isolate for 14 days, and the helicopter will have to be deep cleaned. 

On arrival at the White House, his walk up the stairs was no doubt a show of fitness.

But his flagrant disregard of medical guidelines with his removal of his face mask will add to the criticism he's faced about how he's managed his diagnosis.  


Donald Trump raised his fist in triumph as he left the Walter Reed hospital on Monday night

Donald Trump raised his fist in triumph as he left the Walter Reed hospital on Monday night

The president, dressed in a navy suit and tie and wearing a face mask, strode out of the hospital on Monday evening

The president, dressed in a navy suit and tie and wearing a face mask, strode out of the hospital on Monday evening

Donald Trump gave the thumbs up as he left the Walter Reed medical center at 6:40pm on Monday

Donald Trump gave the thumbs up as he left the Walter Reed medical center at 6:40pm on Monday

Donald Trump left the hospital on Monday evening to shouted questions as to whether he was a super spreader

Donald Trump left the hospital on Monday evening to shouted questions as to whether he was a super spreader

The 74-year-old president walked out the golden doors and down the steps at 6:40pm on Monday

The 74-year-old president walked out the golden doors and down the steps at 6:40pm on Monday

Marine One is seen arriving at Walter Reed on Monday evening to collect the president from the hospital

Marine One is seen arriving at Walter Reed on Monday evening to collect the president from the hospital

The president is flying from the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland back to the White House - a journey of only a few minutes

The president is flying from the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland back to the White House - a journey of only a few minutes

Donald Trump tweeted, shortly before leaving the hospital, that he would soon be back on the campaign trail

Donald Trump tweeted, shortly before leaving the hospital, that he would soon be back on the campaign trail

Trump, 74, was admitted to Walter Reed on Friday amid reports he had trouble breathing and had a fever. 

He has received care from the best doctors in the country, and has been driven around in an SUV to wave at fans who lined up outside to greet him - a move that outraged critics who said he put Secret Service agents' lives at risk for a political stunt. 

'Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!' he tweeted on Monday evening, shortly before departing. 

'The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.'  

Crowds of supporters held a vigil outside the hospital, and were rewarded with the drive-by. 

People wore 'Make America Great Again' paraphernalia, waved campaign signs and hoisted Americans flags.

One woman waved a 'we [heart] u Mr. Trump sign' while another man waved a 'We [heart] Trump' sign.  

Supporters of the president gathered outside the Walter Reed hospital on Monday awaiting his release

Supporters of the president gathered outside the Walter Reed hospital on Monday awaiting his release

The president's fans on Monday were out in force outside Walter Reed, hoping to see the president as he left the hospital

The president's fans on Monday were out in force outside Walter Reed, hoping to see the president as he left the hospital

On Monday, just four days after he tested positive with the deadly virus, he tweeted: 'I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don't be afraid of Covid.

'Don't let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!' 

Shortly after his message, doctors appeared outside the hospital to say that while Trump was not 'out of the woods', they were satisfied he could go home. 

They refused to share details of his health, like when he last tested negative, citing medical privacy laws as reasons not to share information like the results of a lung scan.  

The doctors said Trump would receive his fourth remdesivir dose on Monday night before he leaves the hospital, and his fifth on Tuesday. 

The president's kidney and liver function are both good, they said. His temperature on Monday was 98.1F. 

In addition, the president takes zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin, his doctors say. 

It is not clear if any of these are deliberately for COVID-19, and whether he was continuing to take them in addition to his other drugs.

Zinc is a mineral that does have a role in the immune system, but there is no evidence that such supplements improve people's ability to fight the virus.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin as it is made in the skin in response to sunlight. It also has a role in a healthy immune system, but again there is no evidence that taking supplements helps against Covid 19.

Famotidine decreases stomach acid production and is used for people with stomach ulcers or reflux, and there is some suggestion it may help with COVID treatment.

Melatonin is a hormone the body makes in the evening while people sleep; it is sometimes given as a treatment for insomnia.

Aspirin is a pain killer and blood thinner that is used to reduce the risk of blood clots. His doctors failed to clarify whether he was taking blood thinners; there were some suggestions he was not, because his brother Robert, who died in August, had been taking them and died of a brain bleed.   

The doctors defended their treatment of him and of the decision to discharge him, saying he has some of the best care in the world at the White House.  

'Every day a patient stays in the hospital unnecessarily is a risk to themselves. There's nothing being done here that can't be done safely at home,' said Dr Sean Conley, presidential physician. 

'That's why we all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard. 

'We all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard, because we're in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course.' 

1 comment:

  1. Covid IS THE BULLSHIT yet out the other side of Trump's EPSTEIN GUILTY mouth he gave Gates GAVI group 8 BILLION to FORCE a vaccine on YOU using the MILITARY in a 'powerful way' Gates controlled and funded Fauci AND Birx and they ALL should be EXECUTED. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pV1U9s3vJ0

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