Mark Meadows was ‘consumed with fear’ that Trump would die from COVID-19, book says

Former president Donald Trump and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows
President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, on Marine One helicopter after he tested positive for COVID-19. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is at second from left. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was “consumed with fear” that Trump would die from COVID.
  • The White House was wholly caught off guard and unprepared for a COVID outbreak in October.
  • The behind-the-scenes panic over Trump’s illness is documented in the book “Nightmare Scenario.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was “consumed with fear” that former President Donald Trump would die from COVID-19, according to a new book by two Washington Post reporters.

A new excerpt of the book, “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” detailed the White House’s chaotic response to Trump’s October 2020 COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalization. The book, written by Yasmeen Abultaeb and Damian Paletta, is due for release on June 29.

Despite flouting COVID protocols like mask-wearing and social distancing for months, the White House was fully caught off guard by the COVID-19 outbreak that swept through the complex in October, infecting both Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

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Many officials were kept in the dark about the severity of Trump’s illness, and the White House didn’t even have a plan in place to swear in Vice President Mike Pence if Trump became immobilized or indisposed from his illness, the authors revealed.

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution allows the president themself or members of the president’s cabinet to temporarily transfer the powers of the presidency to the vice-president.

As previously reported, Trump was a high-risk patient due to his age and weight, and spiked a high fever while his blood oxygen levels dropped to dangerously low levels.

The book also documented the behind-the-scenes scramble at the Food & Drug Administration to secure compassionate-use authorization of an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment not yet authorized for widespread use, for Trump’s treatment.

At Walter Reed Medical Center, Trump received multiple drug therapies not available to most of the American public, and steroids that helped him recover from COVID-19.

Trump becoming even more seriously ill or dying just four weeks before the 2020 presidential election would have would have thrown the administration and the US’ future into disarray.