President Donald Trump was reportedly angry with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after he stated to reporters Saturday that contradicted comments from White House physician Dr. Sean Conley just moments before. Meadows said Trump's vital signs were "very concerning" and the next two days would be "critical" in terms of his care. During Sunday's press conference, Conley claimed Meadows' statements were "misconstrued."
After Conley and other doctors finished their press briefing outside Walter Reed Medical Center, where Trump is being treated for coronavirus symptoms, Meadows spoke with White House pool reporters. "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," he said. Initially, reporters said the comments came from an anonymous source familiar with the president's condition. However, it was later reported that the comments came from Meadows.
Meadows' statements "infuriated" the president, people close to the situation told The New York Times. A senior Trump advisor told CNN the president was "outraged" with Meadows over the "botched" messaging. It reportedly inspired Trump to share a message on Twitter that he was "feeling well." The White House also quickly posted a video and photos from Walter Reed on Twitter.
"We're working hard to get me all the way back, I have to be back because we still have to make America great again. We've done an awfully good job of that, but we still have steps to go. We have to finish that job," Trump said in the video. "I'll be back, I think I'll be back soon. And I look forward to finishing up the campaign, the way it was started, and the way we've been doing."
On Saturday evening, Meadows did some clean-up work. He told Reuters Trump was "doing very well" and was "up and about and asking for documents to view." He also called into Fox News, where he said the White House was "real concern" on Friday. "He had a fever, and his blood oxygen level dropped rapidly," Meadows said, adding that Trump has made "unbelievable improvement" since then. Meadows was "very, very optimistic," but noted that Conley said Trump was not "out of the woods for the next 48 hours or so."
During Sunday morning's press conference, Conley tried to explain the contrasting comments from himself and Meadows. "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."