President visits supporters outside hospital as polls point to Trump slump

4 October 2020, 22:34 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 05:22

US President Donald Trump briefly left hospital on Sunday to thank supporters
US President Donald Trump briefly left hospital on Sunday to thank supporters. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Donald Trump has briefly left hospital for a drive-by greeting as new polling shows his re-election campaign faces significant challenges in the final weeks of the contest.

His motorcade passed crowds of people waving American flags and Trump merchandise outside Walter Reed hospital as he thanked them for their continued support.

While those in the President's campaign hope that his recent Covid-19 infection will rally his supporters and create sympathy votes, an ABC/Ipsos poll reveals that 72% do not believe Donald Trump "took appropriate precautions regarding his personal health" before contracting the virus.

Many of the President's own supporters are also struggling to defend his actions during the Covid-19 pandemic, with an ABC/Ipsos poll revealing that only one in three people approve of his handling of the crisis.

Read more: Donald Trump could be discharged from hospital on Monday, his doctor says

Read more: Concerns mount over Trump's health as doctors and officials send mixed signals

National polls conducted before the infamous first debate between Presidential candidates shows a 14% lead for Joe Biden - the biggest since the beginning of the contest.

Following the news, Mr Trump reportedly left the Walter Reed Medical Center to drive past and wave at supporters outside the hospital.

In a video tweeted moments earlier, he thanked supporters wishing him well and said they could expect a "little surprise visit" soon.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday morning (US Eastern Time), President Trump's physician Dr Sean Conley spoke positively about his condition and said he may even be well enough to return to the White House tomorrow.

He added the President has had "two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation" in the course of his treatment, and is being given the steroid dexamethasone.

Read more: Trump claims he is 'very well' despite 'serious concerns' for his health

Late on Friday morning he had a "high fever" and his oxygen levels were low, Dr Conley said, adding he "was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness".

"I recommended, 'President, try some supplemental oxygen', see how he'd respond."

After two litres of oxygen use, Mr Trump's oxygen saturation levels returned to normal and his symptoms became more mild late on Friday.

Donald Trump faces a loss in support over his handling of Covid-19
Donald Trump faces a loss in support over his handling of Covid-19. Picture: PA Images

Dr Conley was also forced to correct himself and explain the confusion surrounding the President's condition yesterday.

He said that positive messaging around his health could lead to an easier recovery.

The progress of his recovery at Walter Reed, where he is still working in a presidential suite, will be critical to the US presidential election campaign.

His health also represents a national security issue of paramount importance not only to the functions of the US government but to countries around the world, but President Trump is understood to be insisting on reviewing documents from his hospital suite.

Read more: Donald Trump coronavirus: Who else in the White House has tested positive?

The coronavirus outbreak in the White House is thought to have been linked to a Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate the new US Supreme Court pick earlier this week, nine attendees of which, including Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive.

Republican Senators also face a tough few weeks as their legal work in the Senate was cancelled due to an outbreak.