White House claims ‘appropriate precautions’ taken for Trump’s motorcade ride

Critics contend the trip showed how willing Trump is to endanger his staff. 'The irresponsibility,' one doctor says, 'is astounding.'

President Donald Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center late Sunday afternoon to ride in an SUV to surprise his supporters outside of the hospital. During the short trip, Trump waved through a closed window, donning a face mask while the pair of Secret Service officers inside the vehicle wore N-95 masks, medical gowns and eye coverings. 

White House officials said that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE. The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

Critics have said the trip showed a willingness to endanger his staff by traveling while battling COVID-19.

“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 theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,” Dr. James Phillips tweeted.

Read More: Republican senator shown without mask on Delta Airlines flight

Dr. Phillips is an attending physician at the hospital, but it is not known if he is treating the president. 

“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” he continued. “The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”

Read More: Joe Biden enlists the help of Black celebrities for ad campaign

Since Trump’s admission to Walter Reed on Friday, Trump supporters had been lining the streets outside of the hospital, holding signs and waving flags. They cheered as the motorcade went by. 

CNN is reporting that a Secret Service agent who works on the president’s detail condemned the ride. “That should never have happened,” the agent said under anonymity. 

He noted that all of the agents who participated in the ride would be required quarantine. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around them,” he said. “The frustration with how we’re treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this, though. We’re not disposable.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!