Donald Trump’s Sunday motorcade ride to wave at supporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center continues to shock and dismay observers. For the sake of stroking his own ego, Trump forced Secret Service agents and medical personnel to endanger themselves through added exposure to him as they moved him through the hospital—and especially for the two people stuck in a closed car with him, an infectious COVID-19 patient.
Secret Service agents and medical experts alike are aghast. “He’s not even pretending to care now,” a Secret Service agent told The Washington Post. “That should never have happened,” another told CNN. “It was simply reckless,” yet another said.
A number of observers raised questions about what behavioral effects the dexamethasone Trump is taking might be having. “Dexamethasone is known to have mental health side effects,” Dr. Megan Ranney said on CNN. “It can cause psychosis, it can cause delirium, it can cause mania.”
We don’t know what’s going on with Trump, but “If @realdonaldtrump were my patient,” Dr. Leana Wen tweeted, “in unstable condition + contagious illness, & he suddenly left the hospital to go for a car ride that endangers himself & others: I'd call security to restrain him then perform a psychiatric evaluation to examine his decision-making capacity.”
Insisting on endangering others to go out for a photo op and to have the ego reward of looking at supporters is well within Trump’s capacity when unaffected by steroids, of course. By contrast, on Saturday, Melania Trump reportedly decided not to visit Trump at Walter Reed because she’s in isolation with COVID-19. “She has COVID," a White House official told NBC News. "That would expose the agents who would drive her there and the medical staff who would walk her up to him.”
On Sunday, that wasn't a worry for Donald Trump, and no one was willing to tell him no, in yet another reason for concern about the treatment he’s receiving and what he might do in the throes of sickness and fear and a potent cocktail of medications.