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Dr. Conley’s Timeline Stokes Fears of White House ‘Coverup,’ Effort to Conceal the ‘President’s Diagnosis’

White House physician Sean Conley answers questions during an update on the condition of US President Donald Trump, on October 3, 2020, at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. – Trump was hospitalized on October 2 due to a Covid-19 diagnosis.

A flurry of confusion and outrage erupted on Saturday after a doctor at Walter Reed shared a shocking timeline suggesting that President Donald Trump knew he tested positive for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) well before the announcement was made public.

Trump’s personal physician Dr. Sean Conley told reporters that the 45th president is “just 72 hours into the diagnosis now,” which would mean the positive test results were received Wednesday morning.

National media were immediately scandalized by the implication that the White House had known about Trump’s condition mid-week and not long after the Tuesday debate with Joe Biden, but worked to keep it quiet until early Friday morning.

The president traveled for campaign-related events to Minnesota later on Wednesday and then to a fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday–raising concerns that those gatherings furthered spread of the virus and concerns that the president, who attended both without wearing a mask, knowingly put other people’s lives in danger.

“I look forward to the President’s enablers explaining why it was totally appropriate for him to (1) hide his positive test for 36+ hours; and (2) travel to a fundraiser—to say nothing of not masking or social distancing—while he knew that he was both positive and symptomatic,” tweeted University of Texas Law Professor Steve Vladeck.

University of Michigan Law Professor Leah Litman joked on Twitter that the White House was “concealing the president’s diagnosis” and potentially infecting “countless others” in order to enforce the Voting Rights Act–an apparent reference to the Trump administration’s previously rejected justification for adding a “citizenship question” to the 2020 Census.

“[M]ore seriously, this is a national disgrace and everyone involved is jeopardizing countless people’s lives,” she added.

Attorney and noted “Grim ReaperDaniel Uhlfelder offered a common criticism of Saturday’s astonishing turn of events.

“Someone needs to be preserving all of the evidence of the coverup taking place in plain view right now,” he tweeted.

Conley formally walked back his timeline just a few hours after having made the controversial comments:

Vladeck was apparently unmoved by that explanation:

“Was Dr. Conley lying an hour ago or is he lying now,” Uhlfelder mused in a later tweet.

Others wondered how two doctors could have gotten this timeline mixed up.

Still others advised caution, however, about reading too much into Conley’s shocking “72 hours” utterance.

National security attorney Bradley P. Moss said that while the White House sought to clarify the doctor’s timeline, the president’s inner circle had still made the conscious decision to risk the lives of others following advisor Hope Hicks testing positive on Wednesday night. A “small group of White House officials” reportedly knew about Hicks’s positive test by Thursday morning.

“One of the most essential roles of a president is to be a leader who the public can trust to protect them from external threats,” he told Law&Crime. “Not only did the president fail to protect himself, his actions and the lack of information provided to others, including Vice President Biden, recklessly put others in danger.”

New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman tweeted ominously—both about the days ahead and the implications of the Saturday controversy on Dr. Conley’s credibility.

“Conley has now jeopardized his own ability to be believed by the public. It is in part because he is adhering to the wishes of a patient who does not want the information about yesterday disclosed, according to people briefed on what has taken place so far,” Haberman reported.

[image via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images]

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