Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has joined the chorus of critics denouncing President Donald Trump’s decision to hold a motorcade Sunday outside Bethesda’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump is being treated for COVID-19.
In a tweet, Elrich urged Trump to be more mindful about exposing others to the deadly virus. During Sunday evening’s motorcade, Trump sat in the back seat of an SUV sporting a mask, and Secret Service agents joined him inside of the vehicle.
“We ask our residents to act responsibly with family & friends and we expect the same from our guests," Elrich wrote in his tweet close to 11 p.m. Sunday. "Please think about those caring for you and stay in the hospital until you can return to the White House.”
Trump’s decision has drawn fierce criticism from health experts as well, including a Walter Reed doctor, James P. Phillips. In a tweet, Phillips called the presidential drive-by “insanity.” He expressed grave concern for those inside the vehicle with Trump during the event.
“They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk,” Phillips wrote in his tweet.
Baltimore’s Dr. Leana Wen, a former city health commissioner who has become a frequent national commentator during the pandemic, also chimed in, questioning the president’s decision-making skills.
“If @realDonaldTrump were my patient, in unstable condition + contagious illness, & he suddenly left the hospital to go for a car ride that endangers himself & others: I’d call security to restrain him then perform a psychiatric evaluation to examine his decision-making capacity," Wen wrote in a tweet that had been shared more than 80,000 times as of Monday morning.
Trump has been receiving treatment at Walter Reed since Friday, the day he announced to the public that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The first lady, in addition to several senators and some close advisers to the president, have also tested positive. Practically since Trump reported to the Montgomery County military hospital, which he left Monday night, questions have swirled about his condition.
The president’s doctors have indicated that Trump’s oxygen levels have dipped on two occasions since his diagnosis, and that he is being treated with a steroid called dexamethasone, which experts say is typically only used for severely ill COVID-19 patients.
At about 5:15 p.m. Sunday, Trump posted tweeted a video of himself talking about his experience with the virus, and hinting at the “surprise visit” he’d planned for his supporters stationed outside the hospital. He also referenced meeting with soldiers and first responders while hospitalized, which drew further concern from health experts on the social media platform.
“It’s been a very interesting journey,” Trump said during his video. “I learned a lot about Covid.”
The president announced on Twitter that he would be released from the hospital on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and urged people not to “be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”
He staged a dramatic return to the White House on Monday and entered the building without a protective mask.
In his tweet, the president touted “really great drugs & knowledge” developed under his administration and said he feels better than he did 20 years ago.
Elrich took to Twitter again and said there is “no doubt” the president received world-class care at Walter Reed that “led to what appears to be a quick recovery.”
“As you celebrate, we are thinking about the over 210,000 Americans, and over 800 of our neighbors, lost to COVID,” the county executive said in a tweet. “Fear didn’t take their lives—COVID did.”