White House was in chaos when Trump was severely ill with COVID-19, according to new book

White House officials were reportedly in a panic when President Trump contracted the coronavirus in October 2020, according to an upcoming book.

The book, “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” describes the chaos the White House experienced following Trump’s diagnosis, even attempting to cut corners to get Trump access to an experimental treatment.

“Nightmare Scenario,” written by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, details the Trump administration’s behind-the-scenes response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a new excerpt from the book released by the Washington Post, the White House reportedly called then-FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn asking the FDA to sign off on a compassionate-use authorization for a monoclonal antibody treatment immediately for an unnamed person, to which Hahn said the FDA’s scientists needed to review the patient records and doctor’s orders before giving their answer within the typical 24-hour period. The White House continued to press him for an immediate sign-off.


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“When Hahn later learned the effort was on behalf of the president, he was stunned. For God’s sake, he thought, it’s the president who’s sick, and you want us to bend the rules?” the excerpt reads. “Trump was in the highest-risk category for severe disease from covid-19 — at 74, he rarely exercised and was considered medically obese. He was the type of patient with whom you would want to take every possible precaution.” 

After analyzing the records, the FDA signed off on the treatment within its typical 24 hours. Following Trump’s hospital stay and treatment, when he finally arrived back at the White House, officials hoped Trump would begin to “to take the virus seriously” and encourage Americans to heed socially-distancing measures and mask-mandates the government was putting in place.

Instead, Trump emerged from the experience triumphant and ever more defiant. He urged people not to be afraid of the virus or let it dominate their lives, disregarding that he had had access to health care and treatments unavailable to other Americans,” Paletta and Abutaleb wrote.  


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Other chaotic incidents covered in the book include then-chief of staff Mark Meadows yelling at Assistant Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department Robert Kadlec over the rollout of the antiviral treatment remdesivir and Trump reportedly asking if COVID-19 patients could be sent to Guantánamo Bay to contain the virus.

The book is due to be released on Tuesday.


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