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The White House doctor didn't come *close* to telling the truth about the President's condition

CNN's Jake Tapper explains why it is hard to stay informed on President Trump's condition when his doctors, his administration, and his campaign won't give answers.

Posted: Oct 4, 2020 9:47 AM
Updated: Oct 4, 2020 3:15 PM


On Saturday, White House physician Sean Conley said this when asked about President Donald Trump's health and treatment:

'This morning the President is doing very well. ... He is not on oxygen right now. He has not needed any today at all.'

Later in the day -- like less than an hour after Conley's statement -- came a contradictory statement from a 'source familiar with the President's health' that said 'the President's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.'

Asked about the discrepancy between the two statements on Sunday, Conley said this:

'I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the President in his course of illness has had. I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we're trying to hide something.'

What?

Like, WHAT!

Conley is a doctor. Not a press person. Not a campaign consultant. A doctor.

As such, it is not his job -- or anything close to his job -- to 'reflect the upbeat attitude' of the President or anyone else. It's his job to provide facts. Facts like: has the President needed supplemental oxygen? What is his temperature? What is his prognosis? You know, medical facts.

But, that wasn't even the worst thing that Conley said. It's this sentence that really tipped everything over the edge.

I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we're trying to hide something.

It's hard to fathom what Conley was trying to say here. I'm not a doctor and even I know that the 'course of the illness' is not impacted in any way shape or form by what a doctor says about it.

So, what is Conley talking about? My strong sense is that what he meant was that any negative information about Trump's condition -- aka the facts -- would make the COVERAGE more negative. Which, again, is not Conley's concern. Or, well, it shouldn't be. Because, and I feel like I may have mentioned this before, he is a doctor and not a press secretary.

(White House communications director Alyssa Farah told PBS' Yamiche Alcindor that Conley was trying to 'project confidence' when he misled the public about Trump's condition on Saturday. Right. Just as bad.)

Then, at the end, Conley gave up the game. He said he regretted that by not providing facts 'it came off that we're trying to hide something.'

No, it didn't come off that way. That's what happened. The White House -- via its messenger Conley -- purposely downplayed Trump's condition through a series of incomplete, overly rosy and at times misleading statements.

This is all, of course, incredibly irresponsible. (I feel like a broken record but, well, it is.) While we've come to expect misinformation from people like Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and other paid operatives of the administration, it's unsettling to hear it from a medical doctor. Even one who works for the President.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 898799

Reported Deaths: 17305
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2968216974
Riverside657571279
San Bernardino617261070
Orange580101440
San Diego53928867
Kern33669416
Fresno30471436
Sacramento25094482
Santa Clara23881388
Alameda23133456
San Joaquin21528488
Contra Costa18413240
Stanislaus17509396
Tulare17425284
Ventura14124162
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12032140
Monterey1128487
San Mateo11002159
Santa Barbara9715120
Merced9439154
Sonoma9163134
Kings820183
Solano728674
Marin7045128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo412132
Placer408857
Yolo314458
Butte304652
Santa Cruz275325
Napa192815
Shasta183930
Sutter183712
San Benito143215
El Dorado13084
Yuba129310
Mendocino112121
Tehama8528
Lassen7641
Lake67915
Glenn6523
Nevada6038
Humboldt5619
Colusa5496
Calaveras33917
Amador31716
Tuolumne2624
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1880
Del Norte1781
Mono1762
Mariposa782
Plumas630
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
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Hi: 75° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 73°
Oroville
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Paradise
Clear
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Chester
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Red Bluff
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Willows
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Friday was a quieter weather day for much of northern California with a wide range of temperatures from morning to afternoon, and wind that wasn't quite as strong. Saturday will also be quiet, but much higher fire danger returns Sunday.
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