US President Donald Trump has had no COVID-19 symptoms for the past 24 hours, with a physical examination and his vital signs showing his condition remains stable, White House physician Sean Conley said.
Conley, in a statement released with Trump’s permission on Wednesday, said the president has been fever-free for more than four days and had neither needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since his initial hospitalisation.
Trump was hospitalised on Friday after tests showed he had contracted COVID-19. He returned to the White House on Monday.
But Trump, under coronavirus quarantine in the White House and restricted from travelling, is seeking ways to put the spark back in his struggling re-election bid and get behind his desk in the Oval Office with four weeks left until election day.
He has been looking for options on how to get his message out and cut into Democrat Joe Biden’s lead in battleground states where the November 3 election will be decided, advisers said.
They said they had been discussing Trump delivering a national address, while a speech to senior voters is being contemplated for Thursday. Vice President Mike Pence’s debate with Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City will take centre stage on Wednesday evening.
Complications abound. Trump aides say he is impatient to get back on the campaign trail and insistent on debating Biden on October 15 in Miami, but Biden said on Tuesday he will not participate if Trump is not virus-free.
The White House’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said on Wednesday that Trump was eager to get back to work in the Oval Office. He has been working from a makeshift space in his residence in the White House since returning on Monday from three days in hospital.
“He wanted to go to the Oval yesterday. If he decides to go the Oval, we’ve got safety protocols there,” Meadows told reporters, adding there would be adequate personal protective equipment and ventilation.
He described Trump, who has received treatment with a steroid that is normally used in the most severe cases, as being “in very good health”.
Any political boost Trump could get from a fresh injection of stimulus money into Americans’ pockets appears to be out of reach after he abruptly ended negotiations with Democrats on Tuesday, with both sides far apart on how much money to devote to a deal.
Both Biden and the top Democrat in the US Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accused Trump of abandoning needy Americans. Republican Senator Susan Collins, facing a tough re-election bid in her home state of Maine, called Trump’s move a “huge mistake”.
“The president turned his back on you,” Biden said in a Twitter post.
The President turned his back on you. pic.twitter.com/oeI8dck2LL
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 6, 2020
With layoffs in key industries mounting by the day and threatening the fragile economic recovery, Trump late on Tuesday urged Congress to quickly pass $25bn in funding for passenger airlines, $135bn for small businesses and provide $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans.
But White House officials on Wednesday downplayed the likelihood of any kind of stimulus being passed before the election.
Trump’s drive to get Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court by the Republican-controlled Senate before the election also may be in doubt, since three Republican senators have been infected with the coronavirus and may not be able to vote.
A wave of infections at the White House among Trump’s top lieutenants and press office aides has left the West Wing struggling to find its footing. The latest infection came on Tuesday when immigration hawk and chief speechwriter Stephen Miller said he had tested positive.
ABC News said its count of cases related to the White House was now 23, including Trump and his wife, Melania.