White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Monday he is “still optimistic” President Trump may return to the White House by day’s end.
“We’re still optimistic that based on his unbelievable progress and how strong he’s been in terms of his fight against this COVID-19 disease that he will be released, but that decision won’t be made until later today,” Meadows said in a phone interview with Fox News on Monday morning.
Meadows said the president was already up working and spoke with him about items he wanted addressed.
The president, he said, “candidly is already pressing me to get some declassification rolling.”
“Obviously, this is an important day as the president continues to improve and ready to get back to a normal work schedule,” Meadows said.
He defended his comments to the press Saturday, noting there was “real concern” Friday about the president’s health but that he improved quickly once he got to the hospital.
He also denied reports that the president was “furious” with him.
“I don’t know where anyone is getting the furious part with because the president and I have been together for the last 72 hours or more. … I don’t use the word “fake news” as much, but I can tell you that’s not coming from Walter Reed or anything here,” he said.
He also defended the president’s drive-by outside the hospital in an SUV on Sunday night to acknowledge supporters who had gathered to show their support. Several corporate media outlets drove the narrative that Trump unnecessarily put Secret Service agents in danger of contracting the virus.
“A number of folks are trying to just make a big deal out of that when, indeed, I know that myself and some of the Secret Service detailees are right there with him trying to make sure that he’s protected each and every day,” Meadows said.
Meadows said he and other Secret Service personnel had the necessary personal protective equipment and took other precautions to make sure everyone was protected.
He also suggested that risk is part of the job.
“I’m not having bullets shot at me, and, yes, I may put myself at risk just because of this virus, but just like the president talked about, he’s going to defeat this virus,” he said.