(CNN) President Donald Trump’s physician, Navy Cmdr Dr. Sean Conley, held a second medical briefing that again raised more questions than answers about the President’s condition.

In another jarring news conference on Sunday, Trump’s doctors said that even though the President has had at least two concerning drops in oxygen levels, they are hoping he could be discharged as early as tomorrow from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Conley failed to answer basic questions about the President’s condition and admitted that he had omitted those alarming drops in the President’s oxygen levels during a news conference Saturday because he wanted to “reflect the upbeat attitude” that the team and the President had about his condition and didn’t want “to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction.”
Conley acknowledged that his evasive answers “came off that we were trying to hide something” but said that “wasn’t necessarily true,” adding that the President is “doing really well” and is responding to treatment.
Conley and other doctors involved in the President’s care offered some more information about the President’s condition — but there were still significant gaps that made it hard to decipher the full picture.
During the briefing Sunday, Conley acknowledged that the President has experienced “two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation” and said the team debated the reasons for that and whether to intervene. He said the President was given supplemental oxygen and has also been treated with the steroid dexamethasone, and his current blood oxygen level is 98%.
But Conley refused to say how low the President’s blood oxygen levels had dropped. When asked if they had dropped below 90, he replied, “We don’t have any recordings here of that.” Pressed again on whether they had dropped below 90, Conley said the President’s blood oxygen levels didn’t get down into “the low 80s.”
He offered no detail about what X-rays or CT scans have shown about whether there has been any damage to the President’s lungs.
“There’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern,” Conley said, not explaining whether they were expected findings in a normal patient or a Covid-19 patient.
Some seven months into a pandemic that has killed more than 209,000 Americans, the nation is now facing a grave governing crisis with its commander in chief hospitalized — his condition hinging on his progress over the coming days — as the White House events of the past week serve as a textbook example of how not to handle a deadly virus.
Late Saturday night, the public learned new details about why Trump was airlifted to the hospital Friday, when chief of staff Mark Meadows said during an interview with Fox News that Trump had a fever on Friday morning and his oxygen level had “dropped rapidly.” Meadows added that Trump has made “unbelievable improvements from yesterday morning.”
A memo from Trump’s physician earlier Saturday night said that Trump had “made substantial progress” since his diagnosis but “is not yet out of the woods.”
Speaking from a White House that already has a huge credibility problem with the public, Meadows’ statement capped a 24-hour period that served as a master class in opacity and contradiction that raised major questions about the President’s health — and renewed questions about this administration’s ability to tell the truth.
Trump has been watching and critiquing coverage of his hospitalization from the presidential suite at Walter Reed and has been agitated at what he claims are exaggerated descriptions of his condition, people familiar with the matter said.
Those people told CNN that Trump seemed particularly upset when he saw a quote saying he was displaying “concerning” symptoms on Friday attributed to a person familiar with his health but later assigned by the New York Times and Associated Press to Meadows.
The comment about the President’s vitals hinted that his condition was more worrisome than his doctors let on. But the President’s aversion to appearing weak and sick is now what is driving the effort to project resolve, including a video he tweeted from Walter Reed on Saturday, the photos released by the White House of him working and the multiple accounts of phone calls where he sounded strong by his allies and family members.
For much of this year, Trump has spun an alternate reality about the dangers of coronavirus — disputing science and the efficacy of masks, downplaying the risks to the American people, and making false statements about how 99% of coronavirus cases in America are “totally harmless” or that the virus “affects virtually nobody.”
He encouraged his aides and advisers to live in that dangerous fantasy land, pushing his luck to the limits as late as this past week when he again recklessly gathered thousands of unmasked Americans at his political rallies and packed the top officials in government into a Rose Garden ceremony for his Supreme Court nominee. All the while, White House officials embraced the fallacy that administering rapid coronavirus tests frequently at the White House could provide a shield of immunity.
The President’s construct crumbled Friday when he was airlifted to Walter Reed after contracting the virus, while many aides, advisers and allies were testing positive for Covid-19 after interacting with him over the past week.
The White House seemed to be continuing to downplay concerns about the severity of the virus Saturday morning when the President’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, gave a news conference at Walter Reed where he described the President as upbeat and feeling good, without revealing any of the alarming developments with his oxygen levels the day before.
Undermining the confidence in the information coming from the White House, Conley gave confusing statements Saturday morning about how long it’s been since the President was diagnosed with Covid-19, which he later had to try to clean up.
Conley was evasive about whether the President had received supplemental oxygen (CNN confirmed he had). Conley also refused to pinpoint when the President had his last negative test or to detail whether any tracing had been done to determine how he contracted the virus.

A potential superspreading event at the White House

Many of the Trump aides or contacts who have recently tested positive for Covid-19 attended the White House festivities honoring Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on September 26, in the Rose Garden.
At least seven people attending the event, including the President and first lady, have tested positive. University of Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins, former counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who were seated relatively close to each other, tested positive. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also tested positive and checked himself into the hospital Saturday as a precautionary measure, because he has asthma.
Conway, Christie, Trump’s senior adviser Hope Hicks and his campaign manager Bill Stepien — who have all tested positive — were also all involved in debate prep ahead of Trump’s Tuesday clash with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
It “seems highly likely this originated at the SCOTUS announcement last week,” a senior administration official told CNN’s Jake Tapper of the outbreak among GOP officials. “It may have come from the Hill. The next major concern will be securing Capitol Hill and protecting lawmakers,” the official added.
Trump did not address anyone else’s diagnosis during his video message from Walter Reed Saturday. As he praised the medical care he had received at Walter Reed, he sought to spin his hospitalization to his advantage by making it sound like his diagnosis had been inevitable, even though he took few precautions to prevent it.
The President said he was “starting to feel good” and that he was receiving therapeutics he said are like “miracles coming down from God.”
“This was something that’s happened, and it’s happened to millions of people all over the world and I’m fighting for them, not just in the US,” Trump said. “We’re gonna beat this coronavirus — or whatever you want to call it — and we’re gonna beat it soundly.”
Thanking the American people for their well wishes, Trump said the true nature of his condition would be revealed in the coming days: “You don’t know. Over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test, so we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days,” Trump said.