Trump, Infected With COVID-19, Goes on a Surprise Drive-By to Greet Supporters Outside Walter Reed

Gripas Yuri/ZUMA

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Two days after entering Walter Reed Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment, President Trump on Sunday took a motorcade ride outside the hospital during which he waved at supporters from the back of an SUV. The surprise plan, which Trump announced in a Twitter video shortly before he departed Walter Reed, immediately invited questions about the safety of Secret Service agents, who were seen riding along with the coronavirus-infected president inside a black Suburban SUV with the windows rolled up.

In the same video that announced his car ride, Trump said that he had met with soldiers and first-responders during his hospital stay. “What a group,” he said before revealing that he intended to “pay a little surprise” to the “patriots” stationed outside. The shocking episode came amid overwhelming uncertainty over the president’s condition—hours earlier, Trump’s physician admitted to trying to conceal that the president had been on oxygen the day before in order to “reflect an upbeat attitude”—as well as intense criticism over the White House’s reckless dismissal of social-distancing measures and other key health recommendations aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

“This administration doesn’t care about the Secret Service,” a current agent told the Wahington Post after Trump tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The same report detailed a staggeringly lackadaisical approach to protective measures within the White House, with Secret Service officials denied requests for more secure N95 masks. 

We Recommend


Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.