- CDC Director Robert Redfield hoped contracting the coronavirus would make then President Donald Trump treat the disease more seriously, a new book excerpt says.
- The excerpt is from a forthcoming book by two Washington Post reporters.
- Redfield prayed Trump would finally begin to tell Americans to mask up and follow safety guidelines issued by health authorities.
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Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prayed that former President Donald Trump would take the coronavirus more seriously after being diagnosed with it, according to a new book by two reporters from the Washington Post.
An excerpt of the book, “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” illustrates the White House’s chaotic response to Trump’s October 2020 COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalization at the Walter Reed Medical Center. The book, written by Yasmeen Abultaeb and Damian Paletta, is due for release on June 29.
Over the weekend that Trump announced that he and then first lady Melania had the virus, Redfield prayed for a recovery, the excerpt says. Redfield also prayed that it would be a wake-up call for the president, who for months at this point had flouted or mocked COVID-19 safety restrictions like mask-wearing.
He also held giant rallies with thousands of mask-less people in attendance to drum up support for his 2020 re-election bid.
Redfield “prayed that Trump would tell Americans they should listen to public health advisers before it was too late,” the excerpt says.
Just days after his hospitalization, Trump walked the White House South Lawn. Watching the event unfold on television, Redfield prayed again, this time that the former president would “show some humility” and “remind people that anyone could be susceptible to the coronavirus – even the president, the first lady and their son. That he would tell them how they could protect themselves and their loved ones.”
But Trump didn’t do that. Instead, he took off his mask and gave the cameras a thumbs up, the excerpt says.
In a video taken just over the weekend while at Walter Reed, Trump appeared to be visibly paler than usual. He released a video from the hospital, saying he felt “much better now.” In the video message, Trump appeared to have no trouble speaking and breathing.
During the moment he addressed the cameras on the South Lawn, he was likely still contagious.
“He made a military salute as the helicopter departed the South Lawn, and then strode into the White House, passing staffers on his way and failing to protect them from the virus particles emitted from his nose and mouth,” the excerpt says.
That’s when Redfield began to understand the hospitalization changed neither Trump nor his response to the coronavirus, according to the excerpt.