Donald Trump criticised over ‘drive-by’ to thank supporters outside hospital

Donald Trump has faced backlash over the surprise drive-by visit to thank supporters outside the Walter Reed military medical centre.

The US president left the hospital, where he is being treated for an infection of Covid-19 since Friday, and put on a political stunt that a physician called it "insanity".

The video came after Mr Trump posted on Twitter and gave an update on his condition, saying he had "learned a lot of Covid-19".

In the clip, the 74-year-old is seen wearing a black face mask as he sits at the back of the black SUV as it drives through the gates of the Maryland medical centre.

Mr Trump waves animatedly through a fully-closed window while two Secret Service agents are seen wearing respirators and eye protection inside the car.

The vehicle parades slowly past hundreds of fans who are holding up placards and national flags to cheer for the president.

Mr Trump mentioned about his visit when he shared his update on the condition on Sunday.

He said: "I also, am going to pay a little surprise visit, to some of our patriots out on the street and they are out there for a long time.

"I have learned a lot about COVID, it has been an interesting journey.

  • Donald Trump mocked for 'signing blank paper in staged photos' from hospital

"I learned it by really going to school, this is the real school, this isn’t the let’s read the book school and I get it, I understand it and it’s a very interesting thing, and I’m going to let you know about it."

But his actions raised questions about the coronavirus infection risk to his driver and security team.

James Phillips, a George Washington University doctor who also practises at Walter Reed, criticised the president's move.

He said: "Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days.

"They might get sick. They may die. For political theatre. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theatre. This is insanity."

Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University of medicine and health services, wrote in tweet: "By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk.

"In the hospital when we go into close contact with a Covid patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility."

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the drive had been “cleared by the medical team as safe” and that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE.”

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