President Trump just left the Walter Reed Medical Center to return to the White House — a decision that’s astonishing outside experts and raising additional questions about his condition, his care and the administration’s transparency about both.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” the president tweeted in, depending on your perspective, a classic display of Trumpian bravado or a mind-boggingly reckless and insensitive exhortation in the face of a pandemic that has cost more than 200,000 lives. He added that he feels better than he did 20 years ago.
Trump’s doctors said that while he wasn’t fully recovered he met the requirements to be discharged and go back to the White House. “Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations, and most importantly his clinical status, support the president’s safe return home, where he’ll be surrounded by world-class medical care 24-7,” Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s personal physician, told reporters at an afternoon briefing.
Other doctors called the move ill-advised. “For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be okay to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity,” Dr. Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told The Washington Post before Trump announced his return home.
Others also questioned the decision to discharge Trump, given the risks he still faces, the mix of medications he’s being given and the likelihood that he’s still contagious and will be heading to a White House environment that may have already been host to a superspreader event and where there will inevitably be many other people close by.
Trump promises another tax cut: Even as Trump heads home, it was clear during his hospital stay that the president was very much in campaign mode. To wit: Trump on Monday morning issued a frenzied series of all-caps tweets seeking to drum up votes. They included:
- STOCK MARKET HIGHS. VOTE!
- LAW & ORDER. VOTE!
- RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. VOTE!
- BIGGEST TAX CUT EVER, AND ANOTHER ONE COMING. VOTE!
- 401(K). VOTE!
- SPACE FORCE. VOTE!
- BETTER & CHEAPER HEALTHCARE. VOTE!
- PROTECT PREEXISTING CONDITIONS. VOTE!
The reality: On health care, Trump is again promising more than he has delivered. And on taxes, he is again falsely describing his 2017 cuts as the largest ever. While Trump has dangled the promise of additional cuts repeatedly in recent years, congressional action would be necessary to enact the sizable middle-class tax cut that Trump has teased. It’s not likely Trump can reach a tax cut deal with Democrats if they retain control of the House. “I can’t imagine them finding agreement on any kind of major tax reform since their agendas are close to diametrically opposed,” Seth Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Democratic-aligned Center for American Progress, told The Wall Street Journal recently.
Trump has previously considered cutting the capital gains rate and pledged to forgive payroll taxes deferred this year by his executive action. Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser to Trump, told the Washington Examiner that he met with the president and his economic team 10 days ago and discussed a tax cut for 2021.
"He said he wants to lower the income tax percent to 15 from 22, create a tax-free savings account for the middle class, and revive the payroll tax cut idea. The goal is to get help for folks who make less than $100,000 a year," Moore told the Examiner. He added that there’s a "high likelihood" Trump will announce a specific tax cut plan before the election.
Trump’s tweetstorm also included a claim that Democrats would enact a “massive tax increase, the biggest in the history of our country.” (Trump’s tweet was, again, in capital letters, but we’re sparing you the eyesore.) Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said he would not raise taxes on people making less than $400,000.