Dr. James Phillips, who in October criticized President Trump for riding around in his SUV alongside Secret Service agents while infected with COVID-19, announced on Sunday that he worked his last shift at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland
The ER physician who was removed from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s schedule after he blasted President Trump for riding in his SUV alongside Secret Service agents while infected with COVID-19 has worked his last shift there.
Dr. James Phillips, who at the time was an attending physician at Walter Reed and is the chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University, tweeted over the weekend that he regrets nothing.
‘Today, I worked my final shift at Walter Reed ER,’ Phillips tweeted on Sunday.
‘I will miss the patients and my military and civilian coworkers – they have been overwhelmingly supportive.
‘I’m honored to have worked there and I look forward to new opportunities.’
He concluded his message by writing: ‘I stand by my words, and I regret nothing.’
On October 2, the president revealed that he and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, had tested positive for COVID-19.
Later that day he was moved to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethseda, Maryland, where he received an infusion of medicines, including an experimental antibody drug developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
‘I’m honored to have worked there and I look forward to new opportunities,’ Phillips said. He concluded his message by writing: ‘I stand by my words, and I regret nothing.’
On the second day of Trump’s hospital stay in early October, he took a brief ride in his motorcade to wave to supporters who gathered outside Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The president, who was ill with COVID-19 at the time, rode in the enclosed vehicle with Secret Service agents
Two days later, while still hospitalized, Trump temporarily left the hospital in a motorcade to wave at supporters, a move criticized by some for putting Secret Service agents driving his vehicle at risk.
The president left his hospital room to thank cheering loyalists gathered outside the medical center.
The president was in a suit, but no protective equipment beyond his face mask.
In the front passenger seat was a person wearing a gown, face mask and face shield.
It was unclear whether the driver was similarly protected.
One of those who criticized the president was Phillips, who tweeted that day: ‘Every single person…in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential “drive-by” just now has to be quarantined for 14 days.
At the time, Phillips reacted with anger to the president’s jaunt, calling it ‘insanity’
‘They might get sick. They may die. For political theater.
‘Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.
‘This is insanity.’
Those tweets were later deleted.
Earlier this month, CBS News reported that Phillips was removed from Walter Reed’s rota schedule effective this coming January.
A Walter Reed spokesperson denied the report, saying that the hospital ‘provides requirements for contract positions.
‘Schedules are determined by the contractor. There was no decision made by anyone at WRNMMC to remove Dr. Phillips from the schedule.’
Phillips’ contractor is GW Medical Faculty Associates.
Lisa Anderson, a spokesperson for George Washington University School of Medicine, told CBS News that Phillips remains on staff at GWU Hospital in downtown Washington, DC.
‘While we cannot comment on the scheduling assignments of our providers, we can confirm that he continues to be employed at the GW Medical Faculty Associates,’ Anderson said.
Phillips was not the only medical professional to publicly condemn Trump for the brief excursion.
Phillips remains employed at George Washington University Hospital as the chief of disaster medicine
A second doctor, Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, echoed Phillips’ condemnation.
‘By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk,’ he said.
‘In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility.’
And Dr Craig Spencer, an ER doctor who survived Ebola and is currently director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University, was shocked at the president’s ‘joyride’.
‘Moments after stating ‘I learned a lot about COVID”, the President takes a joyride in an enclosed space with presumably #COVID19 negative people, all while on experimental medications,’ he said.
The White House said the president made a short trip and then returned to the presidential suite inside the hospital.
‘President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed,’ White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
Trump supporters waved American flags and Make America Great Again campaign signs outside of Walter Reed hospital on October 4, the day of Trump’s brief motorcade excursion
‘Appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including PPE. The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.’
The White House press corps issued a statement, condemning the Trump administration for not keeping them informed of his whereabouts.
They had not been warned that the president was about to leave the hospital, breaking the usual protocol of keeping the pool reporters informed.
‘It is outrageous for the president to have left the hospital — even briefly — amid a health crisis without a protective pool present to ensure that the American people know where their president is and how he is doing,’ the White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement.
‘Now more than ever, the American public deserves independent coverage of the president so they can be reliably informed about his health.’
The day after Trump’s ride in the motorcade, he returned to the White House, spending a total of three nights at the hospital.
The president told Americans ‘to get out there’ and not fear COVID-19.
TRUMP’S 48 HOURS OF COVID CRISIS: HOW SUPERSPREADER PRESIDENT SHOCKED EXPERTS AND CRASHED MARKETS
Sunday, October 4
5.30pm: Trump briefly leaves his hospital room at Walter Reed Medical Center in an SUV with the Secret Service to go for a drive and thank supporters. Secret Service agents in the front seat are seen in full PPE, including gowns, and will have to quarantine for 14 days after the drive. Trump sat in the back seat with a mask on
6.20am: Trump goes on all-caps Twitter tirade while at Walter Reed Medical Center.
The tweet storm lasts about an hour as he called for ‘LAW & ORDER’ and ‘RELIGIOUS LIBERTY’ while urging his supporters to ‘VOTE!’
3.20pm: Trump’s team of doctors give a press conference outside of Walter Reed Medical Center where they give a general update on the president’s condition
Dr. Sean Conley resufes to give the results of a lung scan or reveal when he last tested negative for coronavirus, citing patient privacy laws. He calls Trump a ‘phenomenal patient’
He also says the president ‘may not entirely be out of the woods yet’
6.23pm: ‘Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!! The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls,’ Trump tweets
6.40pm: Trump boards Marine One with a wave, a thumbs up and a fist pump after being hospitalized over the weekend
He has been given at least three potent drugs, including Regeneron’s cocktail of lab-made antibodies, the antiviral remdesivir, and the steroid dexamethasone
6.45pm: Helicopter takes off from the Bethesda, Maryland facility and flies back to the White House
Marine One crew will have to isolate for 14 days and the helicopter will have to be deep cleaned
6.55pm: Trump arrives at the White House and takes off his mask for a photo opp as he waves and salutes the crowd. Two photographers in masks are seen near the president as he stands on the balcony.
Trump, 74, appears to be grimacing and taking labored breaths as he stood on the White House balcony, with one doctor saying he was ‘clearly in some distress with his breathing’
7:59pm: Trump releases a video on Twitter, saying ‘Don’t be afraid of COVID, don’t let it dominate your life. I went, I didn’t feel so good, and two days ago – I could have left two days ago – two days ago, I felt great, better than I have in a long time. I said just recently, better than 20 years ago’
Trump claimed that he could even be immune to COVID-19 and said, ‘As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it but I had to do it. I stood out front, I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did.
‘I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger but that’s okay. And now I’m better and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.’
7.39am: Trump tweets about opponent Joe Biden saying he ‘took a more Liberal position on Roe v. Wade than Elizabeth Warren at her highest’ and wants to ‘PACK our great United States Supreme Court’
7.45am: The president continues his attack on Joe Biden and the Democrats saying that they are ‘fully in favor of (very) LATE TERM ABORTION, right up until the time of birth, and beyond – which would be execution’
‘Biden even endorsed the Governor of Virginia, who stated this clearly for all to hear. GET OUT & VOTE!!!’
8.03am: Facebook removes a post by Donald Trump and Twitter flagged it for violating rules after the president falsely claimed flu is more lethal than COVID-19. Tuesday’s post was flagged by Twitter, with the statement: ‘This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. ‘However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible’
10.42am: Trump says he is ‘looking forward’ to the debate with Joe Biden next week, on October 15th, in Miami. ‘It will be great!,’ he writes. He has still not fully recovered from the coronavirus
1pm: In a letter, Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley said the president ‘reports no symptoms’ a day after returning to the White House. He says the president continues to do ‘extremely well’ and had a ‘restful’ first night back at the White House
2.48pm: Trump sparks a panicked stock market sell-off after he tweeted that he would not allow talks on a stimulus plan to go on before the November election.
‘I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,’ he writes