Insiders suspected Trump was deathly ill -- but White House 'lied and lied and lied' about it: reporter

Donald Trump came close to losing his battle with the coronavirus as his White House chief of staff "lied and lied and lied," according to a reporter who suspected the former president was deathly ill.

That former staffer, Mark Meadows, finally admitted to the truth about Trump's illness in his new book, which comes more than a year after the twice-impeached one-term president was hospitalized shortly after he publicly revealed his diagnosis, although he had actually tested positive days earlier.

"Much of this we did learn very quickly after Trump's COVID diagnosis," said Jonathan Lemire, who covered the White House at the time for the Associated Press. "What's so stunning is from the mouth directly from White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The president's condition really deteriorated there in that overnight Thursday into Friday. On Friday evening, I was on the White House South Lawn when he walked out slowly, very carefully, and trying to focus on putting one foot in front of each other to get to Marine One and get airlifted to Walter Reed Medical Center. The president was supposed to be carrying a briefcase with him but didn't have the strength to do it."

Meadows revealed in his book that Trump's oxygen level fell to 86 percent, and that he told the president he should go to the hospital while he could under his own power, rather than get wheeled out of the White House on a gurney.

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"He was deteriorating that quickly," Lemire said. "Now, Trump obviously bounced back fairly fast because he was pumped all of the state-of-the-art medicines and drugs that were not available to the general public at the time. We know from White House staffers at the White House that day and, even most disturbingly, the next day at the hospital, doctors, including Dr. [Sean] Conley, the White House physician, lying to us. We pressed him, I pressed him, on what the president's oxygen level was, whether he needed oxygen to stabilize his condition and he lied and lied and lied."

"Actually, it was Meadows who later did clarify that the president was doing worse than we thought," Lemire added. "There's nothing more significant, in terms of global news and markets and allies than the health of the president of the United States, and for 24 hours or so, it was a little touch and go. It just goes to show that there was nothing that White House would not lie about."

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