The White House released photos of Trump working in hospital that critics say appears to be a publicity stunt

In this image released by the White House, President Donald Trump works in the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Md. Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, after testing positive for COVID-19. Joyce N. Boghosian/The White House via AP
  • The White House released pictures apparently showing Trump hard at work in the Walter Reed medical centre where he is being treated for COVID-19.
  • The images are designed to show the president on the road to recovery, as contradictory information emerged about his condition.
  • But critics are saying that the pictures are a publicity stunt, and were taken 10 minutes apart.
  • Andrew Feinberg, a White House correspondent, pointed out that one image showed the president signing a blank sheet with a Sharpie marker.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The White House on Saturday night released pictures of portraying President Donald Trump hard at work in Walter Reed Army Medical Centre, to reassure the American people about the president’s health following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

One image shows the president, wearing a white shirt, working in the conference room in the suite of rooms set aside for the president at the hospital, said the White House.

Another image released by the White House shows the president wearing a blue blazer and shirt signing a document in the Presidential Suite of the hospital.

In a tweet Saturday evening, the president’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, shared one of the images of the president with the message: “Nothing can stop him from working for the American people. RELENTLESS!”

“The guy’s a machine. @realDonaldTrump getting work in at Walter Reed,’ tweeted Ben Williamson, a senior communications adviser at the White House.

But critics are pointing to aspects of the images that indicate they may be more of a publicity stunt than convincing evidence that the president is recovering and able to carry out his presidential duties.

In a series of tweets, Jon Ostrower, editor-in-chief of the Air Current, a digital aviation publication, noted that according to data about the pictures provided by The Associated Press, the photos were taken only about 10 minutes apart, at 5:25:59 pm and 5:35:40 pm ET Saturday.

But the images are taken in different rooms, with the president wearing a blazer in one photo and just a shirt in another.

Andrew Weinberg, a White House correspondent for outlets including The Independent, noted that in one image Trump appears to be signing his name onto a blank sheet of paper with a Sharpie. However, presidential proclamations on Made in America Week, Child Health Day, and Fire Prevention Week were all signed on October 3, according to the White House website.

The pictures were released Saturday in a bid to reassure Americans about the president’s health, as contradictory information emerged from official sources of information and rumours swirled.

In a statement to Business Insider, the White House forcefully pushed back at the claims.

“This is a ridiculous assertion. The President is working on behalf of the American people and fully in charge while also receiving around the clock care and progressing in his recovery,” said spokesman Judd Deere.

In a video released Saturday, Trump said he was feeling “much better now” and praised medical staff for the care he’d received.

“We’re working hard to get me all the way back,” he said. “I have to be back because we still have to make America great again.”

In a press briefing Saturday Trump’s chief doctor, Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley, said the president’s condition was improving, that his fever had abated, and that he was not being given extra oxygen. Conley, though would not say whether the president had needed supplemental oxygen at any point.

But chief of staff Mark Meadows later told reporters of the president’s condition that it continued to be serious: “We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery.”

The Washington Post later reported that Trump had been annoyed by Meadows’ comments, and ordered aides to give a more positive account of his condition.