Doctors to decide today if Trump can leave hospital, says aide

President Donald Trump listens during a phone call with Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark Milley on Oct 4, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre. (AP pic)

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s medical team will weigh whether he can leave the hospital later on Monday after being admitted last week for Covid-19, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said, adding that he was optimistic Trump will be discharged.

Meadows, in an interview with Fox News, said he had spoken with Trump earlier on Monday morning and that his condition appeared to have improved overnight.

He added that doctors would consult with Trump late Monday morning and that a decision about Trump’s possible discharge would likely not be decided until early Monday afternoon.

“That determination has not been made yet,” he said. “His health continues to improve.”

“We’re still optimistic … that he will be released, but that decision won’t be made until later today,” he added.

Meadows also defended a controversial decision for the president to leave his hospital suite on Sunday to drive by supporters outside Walter Reed Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, despite having the highly infectious novel coronavirus.

Critics said the action put Trump’s security officers at risk.

Meadows noted that the US Secret Service had been with Trump before in cars and had travelled with him to the hospital.

Critics, including some medical experts, have said the additional drive outside the hospital was an unnecessary risk.

“We took additional precautions with PPE (personal protective gear) and others to make sure that they were protected,” Meadows said.