As is often the case with anything and everything involving President Trump, his return to the White House residence last night was either a stirring show of strength or a reckless example of the president's callous disregard for the safety of others. It all depends on where an individual gets their news.
Reuters reported that Trump's 'heavily coordinated' spectacle - where he encouraged Americans to "get out there" but "be careful" - elicited a backlash mostly because of Trump's decision to remove his mask while standing - alone - in front of the South Portico.
The newswire service managed to find a couple of partisan doctors to opine on the record that they were 'horrified' by Trump's behavior and words.
Trump has repeatedly flouted social-distancing guidelines meant to curb the virus’ spread and ignored his own medical advisers. He also mocked Biden at last Tuesday’s presidential debate for wearing a mask at events, even when he is far from others.
His decision to remove his mask after climbing the staircase to the White House South Portico - a perch that put him at some distance from others - and his insistence that Americans should not fear the disease horrified some physicians.
“I was aghast when he said COVID should not be feared,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
William Schaffner, Reuters' main source, was of course widely quoted in press reports criticizing Trump's approach and second-guessing his treatment.
He has also been one of the leading voices speculating that President Trump might need to be rushed back to Walter Reed in the coming days as the president's condition worsens.
“I’m worried about in two days he might suddenly crash and then on an emergency basis he would have to be rushed back,” Dr. Schaffner said.— Maud ANTIFA Gonne (@brachymom) October 5, 2020
Garsh...wouldn't that be too bad...
Of course, these doctors are doing wonders for bolstering the public's credibility.
Openly partisan doctors making angry ALL CAPS diagnoses of the president -- based on the same stupid Twitter videos we all see -- are really doing wonders for the credibility of the medical profession— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 6, 2020
But it wasn't only doctors criticizing Trump: White House reporters, whoa re supposed to impartially cover the president, also criticized him for removing his mask, despite being outdoors and standing alone on the landing.
MSNBC's Joy Reid "unequivocally condemned" Trump for removing the mask.
MSNBC's Joy Reid unequivocally condemned Donald Trump for removing his face mask on his return to the White House. https://t.co/FSHNgiFRmE via @HuffPostPol Cringe worthy moments. UGH he is so contagious and infected the entire White House.— Michele (@AMushroomQueen) October 6, 2020
Chris Cuomo, who got called out for staging his own dramatic 'return' from quarantine after allegedly violating social distancing rules during the early days of the outbreak, also went on a rent on CNN last night.
Fredo Cuomo, idiot brother of the idiot governorhttps://t.co/HXp09fzidA— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) October 6, 2020
Democratic politicians like Sen. Chris Coons slammed Trump's decision as "a failure of leadership".
This is a tragic failure of leadership. https://t.co/gw18Wllxhj— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) October 6, 2020
The Biden campaign capitalized on the moment with a video showing Trump removing his mask, with Biden, on the other side, putting his on.
Wear a mask. pic.twitter.com/TSuLuzAXEB— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 6, 2020
The Drudge Report, which has become increasingly critical of Trump, ran one of its classic all-caps headlines to play up a clip purporting to show Trump gasping for air after his climb up the steps.
The clip dominated the conversation on Twitter overnight, leading the hashtag '#GaspingForAir' to trend.
Trump looks like he is gasping for air pic.twitter.com/4k2v4Jxlir— Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) October 5, 2020
As members of the White House press corp continued to rant about the White House putting them 'in harm's way' with their lax mask-wearing standards, one CNN reporter angrily commented on Trump's decision to remove the mask.
Only days into his diagnosis, the first thing President Trump does when he gets back to the White House is take his mask off. pic.twitter.com/kyqvHcSbIl— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 5, 2020
Shortly after, a Trump Campaign-affiliated 'War Room' account shared footage of Collins in the briefing room taking off her mask when she apparently thought the briefing had ended.
CNN reporters like Kaitlin Collins obsess over masks when the cameras are on, but when they think they’re off, off comes their masks!pic.twitter.com/IpPSvgDqhc— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 5, 2020
Still, we can't help but wonder: If the media had their druthers, what would they rather see?
What would you like him to do? Start crying like a little bitch so you can report that he’s ...crying like a little bitch? He could have a hazmat suit on and you would report ... he’s a fucking lunatic in a hazmat suit. You hate him. Just report that. https://t.co/ZSDOuP1Rg6— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) October 6, 2020
Or perhaps they didn't think about the notion that Trump was attempting to show the public that he's doing better to prevent another sharp selloff in financial markets...with the election one month away.