Entertainment Pelosi says commission to remove unfit presidents ISN'T about Trump
Trump could be in a lot of legal hot water if he loses the election
The presidency shields him from charges of tax fraud, campaign finance violations, obstruction, and more.It’s legal to use huge business losses to offset other income (though whether it should be is another question), but it’s not at all legal to cook the books in order to generate paper accounting losses to avoid taxes. It’s not clear whether Trump broke the law, but the existence of the years-long legal battle over the audit suggests the IRS has reason to believe he did. And some of the accounting practices documented on his tax returns are extremely fishy — characterizing aspects of his lifestyle and wealth transfers to his heirs as business expenses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday rolled out legislation that would set up a commission under the 25th Amendment to weigh whether a president is incapacitated – while insisting the move had nothing to do with COVID-19-stricken President Donald Trump.
'This is not about president Trump. He will face the judgement of the voters,' Pelosi told reporters in a press conference she teased Thursday.
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'He shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents,' she said.
The legislation, as outlined by Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a constitutional scholar, would create a body of retired presidents and cabinet officials, along with medical professionals, who could weigh in along with the vice president in the event the president is incapacitated and couldn't fulfill his duties.
Both Pelosi and Raskin stressed that the move was for the next Congress for scenarios raised by the coronavirus pandemic – not as a quick way to remove Trump from office.
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But Pelosi faced repeated questions about her intentions, having noted a day earlier that he is medicated, and even questioning his 'capacity' in a letter to colleagues hours before her press conference.
'Any of us who is under medication of that seriousness is in an altered state. He has bragged about the medication that he has taken,' she said.
Raskin said the amendment was 'designed to guarantee the continuing peaceful transfer of power in our country,' and said it was 'only for the most extreme situations where you have a president who cannot fulfill the functions of the office.'
He acknowledged a link to the coronavirus following an outbreak at the White House that has top government leaders in isolation and had the president hospitalized.
'The situation has focused everybody’s mind on the need for following through on this suggestion in the 25th Amendment that Congress set up its own body. In the age of COVID-19, where a lot of government actors have been afflicted by it, we need to act,' he said.
Doctors plan to discharge Trump from Walter Reed as early as TOMORROW
The president's doctors said he could be discharged from Walter Reed Monday as Trump's top physician detailed he was given a steroid and put on oxygen as a treatment for COVID-19. 'Our plan for today is to have him to eat and drink, be up out of bed as much as possible, to be mobile,' Dr. Brian Garibaldi, one of the doctor's on Trump's team, said. 'And if he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.
'There are those who believe that taking certain medications can affect your judgement,' Pelosi said. 'I don’t know.'
'It’s not about any of us making a judgment about the president’s well being,' she said.
She spoke as Trump was taking a steroid, and has made a series of decisions that his critics are calling rash and not necessarily in his interest or the interests of those around him.
'Any of us who is under medication of that seriousness is in an altered state. He has bragged about the medication that he has taken,' said Pelosi.
Notably, the commission would require buy-in from the sitting vice president (in this case Republican Mike Pence), and would outsource the decision to the bipartisan and bicameral body – not leaving it in the hands of sitting lawmakers.
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Donald Trump is 74. Joe Biden is 77. Pelosi, who is third in the line of succession, is 80.
But Pelosi faced a slew of questions about her reasoning for bringing up the legislation at the current moment. She swatted down a question about her decision weeks ago to entertain the idea of another impeachment, although the move appeared to be related to a play to try to soak up floor time and slow the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Raskin called for thinking of the matter in constitutional terms. 'We’re living in an age of a lot of chaos,' he said.
He and Pelosi raised scenarios such as if the president were to suffer a stroke or be put on a ventilator without making provisions provided in another part of the 25th amendment to temporarily transfer power.
Pelosi compared the matter to advance medical directives that people should have to provide for a situation where they can't make decisions, such as if someone suffered a stroke.
'Wouldn’t you in advance liked to have had a plan for your family, even if it’s temporary?' she said.
Pelosi released a letter to colleagues Friday where she challenged the president's 'capacity' to tackle the coronavirus – as she prepares to roll out legislation to establish a panel that could remove him from his duties.
Pelosi released the letter to Democrats shortly before she was to appear before reporters to tout legislation to create a commission under the 25th Amendment to that could act to try to take away powers of the president, who tested positive for the coronavirus last week.
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'The President does not have the capacity, leadership or plan for testing, tracing, and isolation that is needed,' she wrote.
On Thursday she raised the possibility Trump may be experiencing 'impairment of judgment.'
Last night, after tweeting out two videos that had been recorded the day before, Trump called into Fox News for an interview with host Sean Hannity, where he would be heardand wheezing on two occasions.
Pelosi in her letter blasted Trump for his handling of the virus, after the president publicly called off negotiations until after the elections, then sought to restart them.
'Trump’s delay, denial, distortion of reality and disdain for science has exacted a deadly and preventable human toll,' Pelosi wrote.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who is at home in quarantine as she battles the coronavirus, blasted Pelosi's 25th Amendment gambit. Like Trump, she said Pelosi is the one who may have mental problems.
Host Ainsley Earhardt said Pelosi thought the president's 'medicine is making him a little crazy' in Earhardt's words, referencing Trump's continued use of a powerful steroid.
McEnany responded: 'That’s an absurd proposition from Nancy Pelosi. The only one who needs to be looking at the 25th Amendment is Nancy Pelosi herself. She had that bizarre interview on ABC a few weeks ago where in the middle of it, after she suggested using impeachment to make sure that Amy Coney Barrett doesn’t get on the court, impeachment of the President of the United States for carrying out his constitutional duty, in the middle of the interview she blurts out, “Good morning. Good Sunday morning.” So, maybe she’s projecting here because the 25th Amendment, no reason for it to be considered with regard to the President of the United States but many for Nancy Pelosi herself.'
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She was referencing an interview where Pelosi entertained the idea of another impeachment resolution, which had the potential to soak up Senate floor time but almost certainly wouldn't have derailed the Barrett nomination.
Fox & Friends cohost Brian Kilmeade said that Trump 'did cough a couple of times,' but McEnany said he is in good shape – though she declined to get behind his idea to attend a campaign rally Saturday.
'He is hard at work. He is ready to go. He wants to talk to the American people, and he wants to be out there. Logistically, whether tomorrow is possible, it would be tough and be a decision for the campaign, but logistically, we’re just trying to keep up with the president who’s ready to go and ready to be out there as soon as he gets the OK from his doctor,' she said.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told CNN the commission could act not only in the event Trump is impaired by medical issues, but if he refuses to accept the election results in the event of a loss to Joe Biden. Trump has repeatedly refused to say flat out he would do so, saying he will accept the results of a 'fair' election.
Pelosi wants to form a commission to evaluate President Donald Trump's mental health and his ability to hold the office of the presidency, she announced on Thursday.
The commission would be part of the process to invoke the 25th amendment and comes amid fears the medication Trump is taking for his COVID treatment is affecting his mental health.
Trump, meanwhile, claimed Pelosi is crazy, should be under observation and accused her of plotting a government coup.
Pelosi, who has voiced concerns about the president's mental state, and Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, a constitutional law professor, will hold a press conference Friday to announce legislation forming a Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office Act.
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'The legislation will create the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office in the Executive Branch of government,' the lawmakers said in a press release.
The House of Representatives would have to approve the formation of the commission but given Democrats' control of the chamber it should pass. It would also force the 14 Republicans in toss-up re-election contests to go on the record with a vote on the president's mental health.
However, it's unlikely Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will bring it up in the Senate, which would need to pass it for the commission to be formed.
Pelosi warned reporters on Thursday that she was planning to investigate removing Trump from office. She invoked impeachment procedures against Trump in December. The House approved two articles against him but the Senate cleared him of the charges.
'Come here tomorrow,' she told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday. 'We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.'
Trump weighed in via Twitter, mocking the speaker with one of his favorite insults for her 'crazy': 'Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!,' he wrote.
He also retweeted Republican Congressman Mark Green's suggestion the speaker was orchestrating a coup. 'I wouldn’t put it past @SpeakerPelosi to stage a coup. She has already weaponized impeachment, what’s to keep her from weaponizing the 25th amendment?,' Green wrote.
Pelosi spoke after Trump was interviewed on Fox Business Network in a frenzied almost hour-long interview where he suggested Gold Star families may have infected him with COVID, claimed again he was 'cured,' equivocated over whether he is still on powerful steroids, demanded AG Bill Barr indict Joe Biden and Barack Obama and twice called Kamala Harris a 'monster.'
She indicated Friday's conversation was related to concerns about the steroid Trump is taking. Some doctors have raised concerns about dexamethasone, which can cause insomnia, mania, mood swings, and rage. It has shown promise for treating patients with a severe case of COVID who are getting supplemental oxygen.
The 25th Amendment's doomsday clause, section four, allowed a president to be removed from office against his will because of incapacity, whether physical or mental.
But it could only be used to remove Trump with the assistance of Mike Pence and members of his Cabinet, which currently appears unlikely.
It does however allow Congress to appoint a body to assess the president's fitness - which gives Pelosi an opening and in the context of an election campaign, a chance to taunt her long-term enemy Trump, who for years has called her 'Crazy Nancy.'
Pelosi has been sounding the alarm on Trump's mental state for the past few days after he issued a surprising tweet on Tuesday calling off negotiations on a COVID relief bill. His move crashed the stock market.
'I've quoted others to say that there are those who say that when you're on steroids and/or if you've had COVID-19 or both - that there may be some impairment of judgment. But, again, that's for the doctors and scientists to determine, but it was very strange, really surprising and I'm rarely surprised, when the president took to the tweet and saying that he wants the Senate to have full focus on this confirmation of the justice and turned attention away, so we're stopping negotiations,' she told Bloomberg News.
Pelosi's announcement caps an unprecedented week in American politics. Trump, shortly before 1 am on Friday, tweeted he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. On Friday evening, he walked to Marine One to be checked into Walter Reed Medical Center. From there, he tweeted videos and photos of himself at work. On Saturday his doctors caused concerned when they refused to disclose numerous details about the severity of his case, including if he had supplemental oxygen and the state of his heart and lungs.
On Sunday, the president - while wearing a face mask - got in his SUV with his Secret Service detail to drive in front of the hospital to thank his supporters. On Monday, the president left the hospital, climbed the steps of balcony on the South Portico and removed his face mask. He appeared to be struggling to breath. Tuesday started a presidential tweet storm, in which he crashed the stock market. Wednesday Trump returned to the Oval Office - all while still contagious from COVID.
SECTION 4 OF THE 25TH AMENDMENT: THE DOOMSDAY CLAUSE TO REMOVE A PRESIDENT
Section IV describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.
The vice president and 'a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide' must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that 'the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.'
The term principal officers of the executive departments would normally mean the cabinet secretaries.
So at least eight of the president's 15 most senior Cabinet members together with the vice president must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.
Notifying the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an 'acting president' role.
The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate.
Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.
As soon as there is a vote with a two-thirds majority, the president loses his powers and is removed, and the vice president stops acting and is sworn in as president.
But if 21 days of debate and votes ends without a two-thirds majority, the president gets back his powers.
The 25th Amendment allows Congress to appoint its own panel to evaluate the president instead of relying on the Cabinet – the men and women who work most closely with Trump – to decide on a course of action.
It specifies that some 'other body as Congress may by law provide' could play that role, but Pence would still need to agree with any finding that the president is incapable of discharging his duties.
The speaker had been in talks with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on a new deal with the tweet was issued. When the tweet hit the internet she was on a conference call with Democratic lawmakers where she blamed Trump's medication for his decision.
She's also questioned if Mnuchin was warned about the president's move.
'I almost wonder if Steve Mnuchin knew the president was going to do that,' she said at her press conference Thursday.
Trump admitted in an interview with Fox Business on Thursday he is taking the powerful steroid but he said called it a 'not heavy' drug.
'I think the public deserves to know the health condition of the President,' Pelosi said during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.
'Mr President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this spread made a hotspot of the White House?' she added.
Congress, however, has a limited role in the 25th amendment, which gives executive power to the vice president should the president become incapacitated.
A president can voluntarily hand over power on a temporary basis - George W. Bush did when he was unconscious for a colonoscopy. But if Trump would refuse, then Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet could force the issue, and, if Trump objected to it, there would be a deciding vote by Congress.
Trump indicated to Fox Business that he was no longer taking medication to combat the virus but then said he was going to take dexamethasone a little bit longer. It is a powerful steroid given to those with COVID who have trouble breathing.
'I think I'm taking almost nothing. I think I'm finished with just about everything,' Trump said of his medical regime.
Then he said he had 'a little bit longer' on the dexamethasone.
He added: 'I think you go a little bit longer on - they have a steroid. It's not even, it's not a heavy steroid, yet they have that go a little bit longer, but I'm not taking - I'm almost not taking anything, I feel great.'
'I'm almost not taking anything,' he said of the cocktail of medications his medical team had him on. His treatment regime included the dexamethasone, an experimental anti-viral drug that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is testing to supply antibodies that help a patient fight the disease, and the antiviral drug remdesivir.
He said he would be tested for the virus again 'soon.'
'I'll be tested very soon but I'm essentially very clean. They say it's over a period of six seven days,' he said.
He also announced he is cured from COVID.
'I'm ready to go except for the quarantine situation,' he told Fox Business's Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning in a telephone interview. 'I don't think I'm contagious at all.'
'Remember this: when you catch it you get better. And then you're immune,' he said.
He claimed to be healthy and raring to go at many points in the 55-minute interview, in which he raged against Hillary Clinton and the investigations against him, said he would not participate in the next debate since it's virtual, and called Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris a 'monster.'
'I'm a perfect physical specimen and I'm extremely young. And so I'm lucky that way,' said the president, who at 74 and overweight is in the high risk category for COVID.
Trump, who returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon after being in the hospital for four days recovering from the coronavirus, said he was ready to hold a campaign rally.
'I'd love to do a rally tonight. I wanted to do one last night,' he said, explaining he stands back from the crowd so it would be safe.
The president's voice sounded shaky at times in the interview, where he could be heard but not seen.
Trump seemed to give two possibilities for how he contracted the deadly disease - either at a Rose Garden event where he announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nomination or a celebration for Gold Star families held at the White House. Several people from both of those of those events have tested positive for COVID.
'Now, as far as the White House is concerned, somebody got in,' he said when asked how he caught the disease. 'It was a day of celebration with Notre Dame etc etc and somebody got in and people got affected, whether it was there or something else.'
Barrett attended Notre Dame and the university's president, Rev. John Jenkins, attended the announcement and later tested positive for COVID.
'I meet a lot of people and I have to - I'm the president of the country. I can't hang around in a basement. So I figured there would be a chance that I would catch it,' Trump said, using his attack line against Democratic rival Joe Biden, who he complains stays in a basement even as Biden campaigns.
'Sometimes I'd be with in groups of - for instance Gold Star families I met with,' he said referring to a September 27 at the White House. The chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several high-ranking military officials are quarantining after attending it.
'I didn't want to cancel that,' Trump said.
He said the families - who have lost a member in service to the country - wanted to hug and kiss him and he let them.
'They come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I'm not telling them, 'Back up,' he said, conceding 'it's a dangerous thing, I guess, if you go by the COVID thing.'
He also appeared to cast doubt on wearing a face masks, which doctors said helps contain the disease and slow the spread. He referred to Ralph Northam, the Democratic governor of Virginia, who is a doctor who wore a face mask in public and caught COVID.
'Look, you have the governor of Virginia - he wore a mask all the time - you've never seen a guy without a mask - he catches it,' Trump said.
Trump has been reluctant to wear a mask in public. The White House has called the decision a personal choice.
His interview marked a return to public life for the president.
On Wednesday, he tweeted out a video shot from the White House Rose Garden where he says he has been 'cured' of COVID by the experimental drug Regeneron – then pitched the medication and promised to make it available to all Americans for free.
The president released the outdoor statement Wednesday evening, after being out of sight for more than 24 hours after returning from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he was checked in after testing positive for the coronavirus.
He called getting the disease a 'blessing from God.'
'I think this was a blessing from god that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise,' Trump said.
Trump went out to tout the experimental antibody cocktail Regeneron.
What does Regeneron's antibody cocktail do?
REGN-COV2 is a combination of two lab-made versions of antibodies that help block the coronavirus from entering cells.
One of the antibodies in the 'cocktail' is based on an antibody that mice produce in response to coronavirus, while the other is based on an antibody isolated from the one of the first US COVID-19 patients.
The hope is that the treatment drives down viral load, keeping it from overrunning the body and sending the immune system haywire, and preventing the infection from becoming severe.
REGN-COV2 is still in early trial phases, but the first data from its clinical trial found that it dramatically lowered viral load within a week and cut recovery time in half in patients that weren't sick enough to be hospitalized.
Regeneron has not yet studied the drug in severely ill patients.
The main concern is these types of treatment occasionally trigger 'antibody-dependent enhancement,' which means the intended therapeutic actually helps the virus invade cells.
So far, the trials don't suggest that REGN-COV2 is causing this phenomenon.
Antibody treatments can also cause allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, as well as fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, weakness, headache and low blood pressure.
'I heard about this drug. I said let me take it. It was my suggestion,' he said. Then he proclaimed himself 'cured' and said he wanted every American to get the type of treatment he got.
Trump is just one of 10 people receiving the drug, which is still in the experimental phase, and is intended to boost antibodies to fight the infection. He's receiving a series of medications, including a steroid that critics and some doctors have said could be making the president manic.
Trump kicked off the nearly-five minute video with an odd introduction that did not state his name.
'Hi, perhaps you recognize me, it's your favorite president,' he said. It appeared from the makeup he was wearing a liberal application of makeup on his face.
'And I'm standing in front of the Oval Office at the White House, which is always an exciting place to be,' he continued.
'I got back a day ago from Walter Reed Medical Center, I spent four days there, and didn't have to, I could have stayed at the White House but the doctors said because you're president let's do it, I said fine,' Trump said.
The video was posted Wednesday. Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters at the White House the video 'taken on the South Lawn earlier this afternoon' - indicating the president was confused about what day it was when he spoke before the camera.
Trump made his first foray to the Oval Office since he came home from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
His Democratic rival Joe Biden said the way Trump was dealing with COVID was a 'tragedy.'
'I'm going to think before I speak,' he told reporters in Wilmington where he was asked about Trump calling his diagnosis a blessing from god. 'I think it's a tragedy the president deals with COVID like it is something not to be worried about when already 210,000 people have died.'
Trump, meanwhile, praised the medical staff who treated him.
'You tell me what to do and I'm going to do it. These are great professionals,' Trump said. He also went on a tangent where he praised police and firefighters.
He then praised the experimental antibody cocktail from Regeneron he took, calling it a 'cure.'
'But I spent four days there and I went in, I wasn't feeling so hot and within a very short period of time they gave me Regeneron, it's called Regeneron, and other things too, but I think this was the key. But they gave me Regeneron and it was like unbelievable, I felt good immediately, I felt as good three days ago as I do now. So I just want to say we have Regeneron, we have a very similar drug from Eli Lilly. And they're coming out and we're trying to get them on an emergency basis,' Trump said.
The White House physician also said Trump was put on oxygen, a steroid, and Remdesivir.
'If you're in the hospital and you're feeling really bad I think we're going to work it so you're going to get them and you're going to get them free,' he promised. He said there were 'hundreds of thousands of doses almost ready,' speaking after the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. has already topped 210,000.
Notable actions or comments by President Trump in the last 48 hours as Democrats prepare to discuss the 25th Amendment
Has not been seen in public since Monday night
Declared himself ‘cured’ of the coronavirus
Told Fox Business ‘I don't think I'm contagious - I want to do a rally tonight!' despite being within the presumed window of infection
No report by White House physician Thursday
Mispronounced the name of Sen. James Inhofe (Trump said ‘Imhofe’)
Declared stimulus negotiations off until the elections, then immediately started tweeting about an airline bailout
74-year old says in a video shot Wednesday that ‘I’m a senior’ but says in interview Thursday ‘I’m a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young’
Said he spoke to AG Bill Barr about criminal indictments of Joe Biden and Barack Obama and there is 'plenty' of evidence to charge them
Called off scheduled presidential debate with Joe Biden despite trailing in the polls
In video statement on major military spending declared: 'Even in the Army, all brand new uniforms with the belt, everybody wanted the belt'
Called Sen. Kamala Harris a ‘monster’ after VP Mike Pence hailed her historic nomination as the third woman on a major ticket
When blasting Nancy Pelosi for holding event on the 25th amendment retweeted proponent of invoking the 25th amendment
Appeared to blame gold star families for giving him coronavirus, saying: ‘They want to hug me and they want to kiss me' and saying ‘I didn't want to cancel’ a White House event Sunday
Then Trump turned to an attack on China, who he said would pay a 'big price' for the outbreak.
'And I'm going to make it free. You're not going to pay for it. It wasn't your fault that this happened, it was China's fault. And China's going to pay a big price what they've done to this country, China's going to pay a big price what they've done to the world. This is China's fault and just remember that.'
'Our military is doing the distribution - it's called logistics - and they deliver hundreds of thousands of troops in a matter of days, this is easy stuff for them.'
'And the drug companies have just made a lot of it,' he said.
The longtime promoter who has put his named on skyscrapers and marketed products from a hit TV show less successful steaks and Trump-branded water told the public: 'You're going to get better, you're going to get better fast, just like I did. So again a blessing in disguise, good luck.'
Trump talked up the therapeutic medication and those in development – then appeared to walk back his optimistic pronouncements for the timing of a vaccine.
'But to me it wasn't therapeutic, it just made me better, I call that a cure. But on the vaccines we have many companies that are in final stages on the vaccine,' Trump said.
'I think we should have it before the election, but frankly the politics gets involved, and that's OK they want to play their games, it's going to be right after the election.'
'Some people don't know how to define therapeutic.'
'It's a cure. For me, I walked in, I didn't feel good, a short 24 hours later I was feeling great, I wanted to get out of the hospital. And that's what I want for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president because I feel great, I feel like perfect. So I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it.'
'This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it, it was my suggestion. Let me take it and it was incredible the way it worked. Incredible. I think if I didn't catch it we'd be looking at that like a number of other drugs. But it really did a fantastic job. I want to get for you what I got.'
Presumably he was filmed by a White House videographer on the grounds of the White House. The video came soon after it was revealed that Trump returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon despite being contagious from the coronavirus, the state of his health uncertain and several aides fighting the disease.
Meadows was with Trump in the presidential office suite in the West Wing of the White House - the area where all the president's staff work - as was Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, the White House said. Both men were wearing protective gear and a table with PPE is set up outside the West Wing.
'I'm on PPE anytime any time I get close,' Meadows told reporters, adding Scavino was wearing it too.
A nurse was on duty outside the Oval Office, The New York Times reported, citing a source. Additionally, a cleaning crew was seen entering the West Wing shortly after the report of Trump's arrival back in his office.
The White House announced six days ago Trump tested positive for the disease. He left the hospital two days ago.
While the president has been eager to get back to work, his fury of tweets and his decision to end talks on a coronavirus relief package - announced in a tweet that sent the stock market tumbling Tuesday - have led to questions about his mental state.
The president taking the steroid dexamethasone as part of his treatment for coronavirus. The steroid is known to have side effects that can affect the brain and thought processes. Doctors also warned that dexamethasone comes with risks of serious side effects, including mood swings, aggression and confusion.
He has been trying to project a picture of health after his diagnosis and as he trails Biden in the polls with Election Day less than six weeks away.
Biden wouldn't comment on Trump's mental health.
'I have no idea and I'd never comment on the president's mental health,' he said when asked whether the medications Trump was on was affecting the president's mental state. 'I'm not qualified to comment on that.'
Meadows told Fox News the president was in the Oval Office most of Wednesday afternoon.
'He's telling me privately, he feels better than he did 20 years ago,' Meadows said.
Trump went into the Oval via the colonnade, which is the outdoor walkway that leads from the residence, around the Rose Garden and to the outer doors of the West Wing. That kept him away from West Wing hallways where staff work in cramped, crowded offices.
He was briefed on the stimulus talks and Hurricane Delta, the White House announced. Trump tweeted he spoke with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards about the hurricane headed to their coast and urged people to listen to FEMA.
'Was just briefed on Hurricane Delta, and spoke with @GovAbbott of Texas and @LouisianaGov John Bel Edwards. Please heed the directions of your State and Local Officials. We are working with them very closely — please be prepared, be careful, and be safe!,' he wrote.
A Marine guard appeared in front of the West Wing Wednesday afternoon, giving a clue as to what was going on in the building behind him. A Marine is present when the president is in the Oval Office.
White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern said precautions were in place for when the president wanted to return to his office.
'We have ways for him to do that, we have PPE that we can use. And we can interact with him standing back like you're standing back,' he told reporters outside the White House earlier Wednesday.
'And people can wear masks, or goggles or gloves or whatever may be needed. We have the CDC guidelines,' he added.
He pointed out that the 'White House in the West Wing are deep cleaned on a regular basis. So there is a way for him to work out of a variety of rooms safely when he's ready to do that. I think we saw today in the doctor's announcement that he's symptom free. That he has antibodies that they're identifying now it's a great sign.'
Dr. Sean Conley, the president's lead physician, said in a statement Wednesday Trump is stable, has not experienced coronavirus symptoms for 24 hours, and has shown signs of antibodies to the virus in his system.
The president has received a course of the antiviral medication remdesivir. Anti virals work by injecting antibodies into the patient's system to help the person fight the disease. It's unclear what level of the drug Trump has received.
Shortly after the statement on Trump's condition from his osteopath, Regeneron issued a statement saying that the presence of antibodies could simply be those he had received through their drug - which means that calling it a 'great sign' may not in fact be true.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state that in order to 'return to work,' individuals must be 10 days past the time when they first experienced symptoms.
According to updates from the president's medical team, Trump first started feeling ill on Friday, when a fever was detected and his oxygen fell below normal levels. He went to the hospital on Friday evening.
If a person has COVID, the CDC advises: Stay home and, 'as much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people.' The agency also advises people to wear a face mask if they have to be around others. 'If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask,' the CDC says.
It's unknown how serious Trump's COVID attack is. The amount and of medical treatment he's receiving indicates a serious infection.
'People who are severely ill with COVID-19 might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared,' the CDC advises.
Some doctors objected to the president's return to the office.
'He should be in isolation. That is pretty clear,' Dr. Sanjay Gupta said on CNN. 'Regardless of whether president or anybody, if you have coronavirus, there are all sorts of timelines in this sort of thing. It's not an exact science but at least ten days after people start having symptoms is typically the infectious sort of period.'
He added: 'They have got to assume that he has the virus, he is shedding the virus, so he is putting, you know, those people who are going to be at risk. Is he wearing a mask? Is there additional ventilation inside there? Are there people within close proximity? Are they wearing personal protective equipment and do they know how to wear it properly?'
Trump has been recovering in the residence since he returned to the White House Monday night after spending four days in Walter Reed Medical Center.
There is an office in the residence for the president to work out of.
In his update on Wednesday afternoon, Conley shared the president had a message for Americans: 'I feel great!'
Conley, a Navy Commander, said labs taken Monday show there are COVID-19 antibodies in the president's system – raising questions for when he truly contracted coronavirus.
'Of note today, the President's labs demonstrated detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2IgG antibodies from the labs drawn Monday, October 5; initial IgG levels drawn late Thursday night were undetectable' Conley wrote in his statement.
Conley also noted Trump has not needed any supplemental oxygen since his initial hospitalization at Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday.
Trump was already being tagged by critics with a bout of 'roid rage' when he fired off 42 tweets Tuesday and overnight, attacking the FBI, FDA, Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chris Wallace.
He was back at it Wednesday morning, this time retweeting a claim that if Democrats take over the government, the nation would turn into a 'hellhole.'
In just one fiery example Wednesday, Trump went after former first lady Michelle Obama, who ranks as among the most popular political figures in the country.
A day after she released a 24-minute video calling him a racist, Trump retweeted actor James Woods – who replaced the background for the clip with shots of urban mayhem and buildings on fire.
Donald Trump's statement about his Regeneron and his 'cure' from coronavirus
Hi, perhaps you recognize me, it's your favorite president.
And I'm standing in front of the Oval Office at the White House, which is always an exciting place to be.
I got back a day ago from Walter Reed Medical Center, I spent four days there, and didn't have to, I could have stayed at the White House but the doctors said because you're president let's do it, I said fine. You tell me what to do and I'm going to do it. These are great professionals ...
But I spent four days there and I went in, I wasn't feeling so hot and within a very short period of time they gave me Regeneron, it's called Regeneron, and other things too, but I think this was the key. But they gave me Regeneron and it was like unbelievable, I felt good immediately, I felt as good three days ago as I do now. So I just want to say we have Regeneron, we have a very similar drug from Eli Lilly. And they're coming out and we're trying to get them on an emergency basis ...
If you're in the hospital and you're feeling really bad I think we're going ot work it so you're going to get them and you're going to get them free. Hundreds of thousands of doses almost ready.
But to me it wasn't therapeutic, it just made me better, I call that a cure.
But on the vaccines we have many companies that are in final stages on the vaccine.
I think we should have it before the election, but frankly the politics gets involved, and that's OK they want to play their games, it's going to be right after the election.
Some people don't know how to define therapeutic.
It's a cure. For me, I walked in, I didn't feel good, a short 24 hours later I was feeling great, I wanted to get out of the hospital. And that's what I want for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president because I feel great, I feel like perfect. So I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it, it was my suggestion. Let me take it and it was incredible the way it worked. Incredible. I think if I didn't catch it we'd be looking at that like a number of other drugs. But it really did a fantastic job. I want to get for you what I got.
And I'm going to make it free. You're not going to pay for it. It wasn't your fault that this happened, it was China's fault. And China's going to pay a big price what they've done to this country, China's going to pay a big price what they've done to the world. This is China's fault and just remember that.
Our military is doing the distribution - it's called logistics - and they deliver hundreds of thousands of troops in a matter of days, this is easy stuff for them.
And the drug companies have just made a lot of it.
You're going to get better, you're going to get better fast, just like I did. So again a blessing in disguise, good luck.
Pelosi admonished Trump in an appearance on ABC's ',' calling for the 'enablers' around him to undertake an 'intervention.'
'There are enablers around the president who really should know better,' she said.
Pelosi also called the White House 'one of the most dangerous places in the country' and said she wouldn't go anywhere near it, then ripped the president's negotiating strategy.
'It's hard to see any clear sane path on what he's doing but the fact is he saw the political downside of his statement of walking away from the negotiations ... He's rebounding from a terrible mistake he made yesterday,' she said.
'Last time I had an interaction with the president was the State of the Union address, and then after that, I said to my staff, I said, 'I think he was medicated, there's something wrong with how he came on and presented.''
So far, 21 people within the president's inner circle – including himself and his wife – have tested positive for coronavirus over the last week. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and adviser Stephen Miller are among those infected.
The 'super spread' event that likely sparked the White House outbreak was the Rose Garden announcement last Saturday where Trump named Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee.
Barrett tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this summer, but has since tested negative.
Trump confirmed overnight Thursday that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive after they were made aware earlier in the day that his counselor Hope Hicks contracted the virus.
It also appears another indecent where cases spread was at the White House event honoring Gold Star families last Sunday.
Trump was transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday, where he was treated at the presidential suite for three nights.
Trump's medical team on Sunday said the president was started on dexamethasone, a generic steroid long and widely used to reduce inflammation associated with other diseases. The steroid was begun after Trump experienced low oxygen levels.
Dr Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, told: 'We definitely see in 30-40 percent of people pretty substantial effects...[of] the anxiety, the agitation.
Scientifichas shown that just a few days on dexamethasone can leave patients with memory and cognitive deficits. Corticosteroids - the class of drugs dexamethasone belongs to - may cause psychiatric side effects in anywhere from 1.8 to 57 percent of patients taking them.
A study published by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota found that unpredictable 'adverse psychiatric reactions' were relatively common among people taking the drugs.
Experts' first worry was that the use of dexamethasone to treat Trump suggested he was very sick, since the $6 steroid may be dangerous to people with mild COVID-19.
But because it's been linked to everything from mania to memory problems, and aggression to psychosis, some are also concerned that the president's judgement could be impaired as he reportedly continues to work through his illness.
Trump has expressed a willingness to get back to work even as his doctor said on Monday he not 'out of the woods.'
There was confusion Wednesday morning about whether Trump has gone back on the job.
His economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC's 'Squawk Box' that Trump went to the Oval Office on Tuesday, using 'extra precautions' but then refused to say what they were claiming they were 'much greater than simply masking.'
Astonishingly, just minutes later the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claimed Trump had not been in the Oval Office but was planning to go back later Wednesday. That position was backed up Meadows aide Ben Williamson, who stated flatly that Trump 'was not there.'
Last Exit From Autocracy .
America survived one Trump term. It wouldn’t survive a second.If the answer is yes, be ready for more. Much more.