With COVID positive tests results spreading, White House staffers are reportedly alarmed and rattled, with a serious lack of coordination and communication.
Hair on Fire
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that President Donald Trump’s positive test for the highly contagious virus and the lack of communication over testing and quarantine protocols was beginning to spread fear and even some chaos throughout the White House.
Several White House aides have begun chain texting with one another in the absence of any official direction, with one White House official they spoke to describing the mood in the West Wing as “hair on fire.”
With President Trump being airlifted to Walter Reed Hospital after developing further complicating symptoms, the mood has grown even more chaotic with much of the staff still unclear as to whether they should report for work as usual, work remotely, quarantine or even go in for a test?
Some aids in the West Wing reported later in the day that an order was given from Mark Meadows – White House Chief of Staff – return and work from home for the rest of the day and all East Wing staffers were told to work from home until further notice.
How serious are Trump’s symptoms?
President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID19 just last night, reportedly showing only minor symptoms and this morning developed further complications including a fever, forcing the White House physicians to order the president be airlifted to Walter reed Hospital for further observation and treatment.
The White House Press Secretary is reporting that the president is in good spirits and plans to remain actively involved with his White House role as well as coordinating with his re-election campaign.
Some members of the White House press corp however have spoken with sources close to the president and are reporting that the president’s complications could be a bit more serious than the president or his staff may be willing to let on, perhaps even more fatigued than first reports and suffering from low oxygen exchange in his lungs, causing the president to experience shortness of breath.
Washington Post political analyst Ashley Parker expressed her own skepticism over the White House’s claims that the president’s symptoms are “mild.”
Commenting in an interview on MSNBC, she noted that “…since he tested positive, other than that tweet, we haven’t heard from him, we haven’t seen him, he hasn’t even called into Fox News or a radio show, and that has raised some questions about how truthful they are even being about the President’s condition.”
What happens if Trump is placed on a ventilator?
By Pete Williams | NBC News
President Donald Trump has been admitted to Walter Reed Hospital and remains in an observation status, according to official reports, but questions are being raised as to what will happen should the president need to be placed on a ventilator?
Dr. John Torres, an NBC News medical correspondent, explained that when a patient needs a ventilator, a breathing tube must be inserted first. “That requires a patient to be sedated, effectively incapacitated. Otherwise it’s not possible to intubate them.”
Who would take over running the country then? The answer comes from the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.
It provides that whenever the president formally notifies Congress that “he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” the vice president becomes the acting president until the president notifies Congress that he is again fit for office. The provision thus allows the president to transfer his authority to the vice president for short periods of time.
The authority been exercised three times since the amendment was adopted in 1967, and in each case the president knew in advance that a medical procedure would require anesthesia. It was informally invoked by Ronald Reagan when he had colon cancer surgery and twice by George W. Bush for colonoscopies.
The amendment provides that if the president suddenly becomes incapacitated and is unable to transmit notice to Congress, the vice president becomes acting president once the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members notify Congress that the president cannot carry out his duties.
That provision has never been used, even after President Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. White House senior staff members discussed invoking the amendment, but Vice President George H.W. Bush was traveling. By the time he returned to Washington, the president’s condition had stabilized, and his doctors anticipated a full recovery.
While the amendment says a decision that a president is incapacitated must have the concurrence of either a majority of the Cabinet or “such other body as Congress may by law provide,” Congress has never adopted legislation to provide for a presidential disability review group, although several proposals have been considered.