According to an excerpt from a new book by Donald Trump's niece, the former president was putting on a show when he made his first appearance in public after contracting the COVID-19 virus right before the November 2020 presidential election.
In Mary Trump's book, "The Reckoning: Our Nation's Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal," the Guardian reveals that Trump's niece recognized a behavioral quirk she had seen among other members that indicated to her that he was attempting to tamp down his fear over what was happening to him.
According to the Guardian's David Smith, "Donald Trump was 'afraid' when he put on a display of bravado at the White House after being treated for a severe coronavirus infection," adding, "The then US president had a pained expression that Mary recognized from her grandmother, but dared not admit his fear even to himself."
In her book, Trump's niece described the events of the day last October after the former president was released from Walter Reed Military Medical Center after a bout with COVID that temporarily stalled his re-election campaign.
In her book she wrote, "Doing his best Mussolini imitation, he took off his mask in a macho display of invulnerability. He clenched his teeth and jutted out his jaw, just as my grandmother did when she was biting back anger or clamping down on her pain. In Donald, I saw the latter."
She noted, "I have asthma, so I am acutely aware of what it looks like when somebody is struggling to breathe. He was in pain, he was afraid, but he would never admit that to anybody – not even himself. Because, as always, the consequences of admitting vulnerability were much more frightening to him than being honest."
The Guardian's Smith added, "For all the outward show, Trump was more severely ill than the White House admitted at the time, with depressed blood oxygen levels and a lung problem associated with pneumonia, according to a February report in the New York Times. Some officials were worried that he would need to be put on a ventilator."
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