Donald Trump's 'Surprise' Motorcade Photo Op Draws Ire of Walter Reed Hospital Doctor

A doctor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center spoke out against President Donald Trump's motorcade ride on Sunday night. The president left his hospital room for a presidential car ride, just to wave at his supporters through the closed window. Dr. James Phillips was horrified to see the president put his staff at risk in this way.

"That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play," Phillips tweeted on Sunday evening. "Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential 'drive-by' just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater."

"Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity," Phillips finished. Phillips is an attending physician at Walter Reed and is also the chief of disaster medicine at the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine. He was not the only one put off by Trump's symbolic car ride on Sunday night. Many were concerned for the driver, the Secret Service agents and whoever else was in the car, as well as the staffers involved in helping Trump get ready and get from his room to the vehicle. At this stage in his illness, he is highly contagious.

At the same time, other critics were horrified by the purpose of Trump's ride — what Phillips referred to as "political theater." Many commenters noted that the most likely reason from Trump's perspective was probably the stock market. Indexes plummeted when Trump became sick, as speculators feared that Trump's illness could lead to economic disarray. Many guessed that he went out on Sunday night to try to inspire confidence in the markets.

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If that is true, it was not enough. According to an analysis by CNBC's Michael Santoli, the markets "are coiling and compressing as they process jarring events and political suspense, with potential energy building up for eventual release." One way or another, he believes, a major shift is coming soon.

Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed with COVID-19 and is receiving several major treatments including two that are still in experimental phases. On Sunday, his doctors said that he could be discharged "as early as" Monday, but so far no more information has been released.