White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House on September 17, 2020.Alex Brandon/AP
In his new book, Meadows said he would have donned “a giant penguin suit” to have Trump back in the Oval Office.
The former presidential aide made the comment regarding Trump’s hospitalization for COVID-19.
Meadows remarked on the heightened enthusiasm for the then-president after leaving Walter Reed.
When then-President Donald Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after his hospitalization for COVID-19 in October 2020, there was a heightened sense of enthusiasm among his most ardent supporters, according to a new book from his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
As Trump returned to the campaign trail in the final stretch before the November general election, Trump was held in even higher regard among the legions of voters who supported him in 2016 and backed his 2020 reelection bid, as Meadows details in “The Chief’s Chief.”
“By the time we hit the campaign trail again in October, I had been to around twenty Trump rallies. Whenever I attended one of these, I was struck all over again by the intensity of the support for President Trump across the country and by the media’s steadfast refusal to cover the events for what they were: huge, energetic seas of excitement — celebrations of prosperity and patriotism, held in honor of the man who believed in America and believed in them,” he wrote.
He continued: “They were always a great time. But I had never seen anything like the rallies that occurred when we got back on the road after the president’s battle with Covid-19 had ended.”
Meadows went on to describe how the racial justice protests that were catapulted into the public consciousness by the death of George Floyd in May 2020 resulted in “young liberal kids” coming into majority-minority neighborhoods to cause chaos — only to return to their “safe communities” and leaving Black Americans to deal with the fallout.
“Out on the trail, the president had heard from countless African American constituents about the detrimental impact that the riots had had on their communities,” the former Republican congressman wrote, adding that many of these voters said that “they were going to turn out in record numbers” for Trump.
The former presidential aide recounted a high-profile early October appearance from Trump where he spoke to members of the “Blexit” movement, which seeks to encourage Black voters to leave the Democratic Party. As the then-president continued to recover from the coronavirus, he spoke to the crowd from the White House Blue Room balcony overlooking the South Lawn.
“It was a remarkable day,” Meadows wrote. “When the president got up to the microphone on the lower balcony, there was uproarious applause. Even out on the lawn, where you don’t typically get the kind of acoustics that are available in an auditorium, it was a formidable sound.”
He continued: “Inside, after the rally was over, I met with the president to update him on several issues. Before entering the Oval Office, I donned my surgical smock, face mask, and a pair of gloves, which had become standard operating procedure after the president’s infection. … I must have looked like I was going in to perform open heart surgery rather than brief the president. But I was relieved to have him behind the Resolute Desk where he belonged.”
Meadows heaped additional praise on Trump’s leadership, lauding his presidency in more pronounced terms after leaving the hospital.
“I would have dressed in a giant penguin suit if it meant having him back in the Oval, running the country,” he wrote.
Trump contracted the disease after downplaying the threat of COVID-19. Throughout much of 2020, the then-president routinely ignored guidance from top public health experts, such as wearing a mask or face-covering in public, which was recommended for reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
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