People close to Trump are questioning whether his judgment is being affected by his steroids, reports say

President Donald Trump removing his mask upon return to the White House from the hospital on Monday. Win McNamee/Getty Images

People close to President Donald Trump are questioning whether his judgment is being affected by the steroids used to treat his coronavirus infection, according to new reports.

Trump was hospitalized Friday after he announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. His treatments at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre included supplemental oxygen, an experimental antibody cocktail, and dexamethasone,a steroid that can alter a person’s mental state and is typically used in severe COVID-19 cases.

The president started a course of dexamethasone on Saturday during a three-night hospitalisation. He returned to the White House on Monday even though he was still infected — concerning staff members working there.

And then, on Tuesday night, Trump unexpectedly tweeted that he had told his team to halt negotiations for a new stimulus package until after the US election, causing the stock market to plunge.

Donald Trump coronavirus
Trump walking to Marine One on Friday to go to the hospital. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

According to The New York Times, some White House staff members wondered whether dexamethasone had affected the decision. The steroid can alter a person’s mental state and can cause euphoria.

Dr. Lewis Kaplan, a surgeon president of Society of Critical Care Medicine, told ABC News on Monday: “Some patients may develop psychiatric symptoms after being treated with steroids including euphoria, mood instability, rage, or psychosis.”

“It is rare but occurs often enough that we recognise them as undesirable side effects of steroid therapy,” he said.

The steroid is usually reserved for the most severe coronavirus patients, prompting experts to tell Business Insider that its use suggested Trump either was being overtreated or was sicker than what his team had said and implied.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who has led Democrats in the stimulus negotiations — also wondered in a Tuesday call with Democrats whether the steroid might have affected the president’s decision to stop the talks, a source told USA Today.

Trump returned to the White House on Monday. ABC News

Sources previously told Vanity Fair that Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s oldest child, considered an “intervention” over concerns with his father’s behaviour during his hospitalisation, including his tweeting habits as well as his decision to ride with Secret Service members to wave at supporters while still infectious.

Republicans and Democrats have clashed over how much to spend on new coronavirus relief, with Democrats wanting to spend significantly more than Republicans. Proposals include federal unemployment aid, aid for businesses, and investment in healthcare and education.

Both parties had said they wanted to send another round of $US1,200 direct payments to Americans.

Experts say Trump’s decision could harm millions of Americans and hammer the economy.

Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Later on Tuesday, Trump urged Congress to pass standalone bills on direct payments and assistance to airlines and small businesses, without other proposals.

At least 14 people in the White House or in Trump’s inner circle have now tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump has also not confirmed when he most recently tested negative for the virus, meaning it is unclear how many people who had contact with him in the days before he announced his test results are at risk.