Mr. Trump’s well-being cannot be just another subject on which the Trump team lies, evades and spins. The president is hospitalized. His condition is unclear. The list of other officials in his circle who have contracted the coronavirus grows daily. Americans need real assurances that someone has a hand on the wheel, and that health experts are treating Mr. Trump and tracing all who were possibly exposed by him to the virus without worrying about keeping up appearances. Only the truth will do.
While Dr. Conley told reporters that Mr. Trump no longer has a fever, he refused to say how high the president’s fever had been. Nor is the lack of a fever particularly encouraging: A fever happens when the body’s immune system kicks in; the president could have had one earlier and may be beyond that phase. Dr. Conley danced around the question of whether the president ever received supplemental oxygen; reports subsequently came in that Mr. Trump was given oxygen at the White House on Friday. Asked about whether Mr. Trump’s lungs are damaged, the doctor would only say that the president gets daily ultrasounds. Asked whether Mr. Trump is receiving steroid treatment, Dr. Conley abruptly ended the news conference. And the doctor declined to say when the president last tested negative for the coronavirus.
On that last point, Dr. Conley confused things further when he spoke of Mr. Trump being 72 hours into his diagnosis. This suggested the president was aware of his condition well before his infection was disclosed to the public — and while he conducted travel and in-person events. The doctor later claimed that his wording had been inexact. What seems certain is that Mr. Trump knew that top White House aide Hope Hicks was ill before he flew to and attended an in-person fundraiser Thursday afternoon.
The president’s health is a constitutional issue. The 25th Amendment provides for him to cede power to the vice president if he is incapacitated, or for the Cabinet to make that call. His condition must be made clear to them, and to the public. The nation also deserves clarity on whether the president put people at risk. For now, Americans do not have a place to turn for solid facts on the president’s illness — just evasive doctors and anonymous sources.