President Donald Trump's White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, tried to explain what happened on Saturday when Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a statement that conflicted with Conley's comments on the president's health. Moments after Conley gave positive statements on Trump's battle with coronavirus symptoms, Meadows told reporters that Trump's vital signs were "very concerning" on Friday. Trump is reportedly angry with Meadows for the comments, which Meadows later had to walk back.
During Sunday's press conference outside Walter Reed Medical Center, Conley said the confusing statement on Saturday was "misconstrued," reports CNN. "The chief and I work side by side," Conley explained. "And I think his statement was misconstrued. What he meant was that 24 hours ago, when he and I were checking on the President, that there was that momentary episode of the high fever and that temporary drop in the saturation, which prompted us to act expediently to move him up here."
According to Conley, Trump had "very transient limited episodes" and he was "back up" a few hours later. "Mild again. You know, we, I'm not going to speculate what that limited episode was about so early in the course but he's doing well," he said. Conley also defended his comments on Trump needing supplemental oxygen. On Saturday, Conley said Trump did not need it now, but sources later said Trump did need it on Friday. Conley said he was trying to "reflect the upbeat attitude of the team." He did not want to "give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we were trying to hide something."
After Conley's Saturday press conference, an anonymous source told White House pool reporters that Trump's condition was serious. "The president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery," the statement read. The Associated Press later reported the statement came from Meadows, who was caught on camera speaking with reporters and telling them he was going to make comments off the record.
To add more confusion to the situation, Meadows later made another contradictory statement to Reuters. "The president is doing very well," he said. "He is up and about and asking for documents to review. The doctors are very pleased with his vital signs. I have met with him on multiple occasions today on a variety of issues."
Sources told the New York Times and CNN that Meadows' comments "infuriated" Trump. They inspired him to tweet "I am feeling well!" hours after the press conference. The White House also released a video and photos of Trump Saturday evening. On Sunday, Conley told reporters Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed as soon as Monday, depending on his condition.