Trump wanted to work from Oval Office upon returning from hospital, aides say

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE pushed to work from the Oval Office just one day after being discharged from the hospital with a COVID-19 infection, aides said Wednesday.

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsGraham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan MORE, speaking to reporters outside the White House, said the president wanted to work from the Oval Office on Tuesday. He said additional safety protocols were in place to allow him to do so, despite the added risk of Trump spreading the virus to other parts of the executive mansion.

“He continues to work,” said Meadows, who removed his mask as he stepped up to the microphone to speak to reporters. “We’ve got a number of safety protocols with full PPE [personal protective equipment], masks, goggles and the like for any direct interactions with the president in those areas. We continue to have a number of areas where we have disinfectants and for hard surfaces and the like. But the president continues to work. He’s in very good health. We’re pleased with his progress."

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“His schedule right now is fluid. We’re looking at his prognosis from a health standpoint. He wanted to go to the Oval yesterday,” Meadows added. “If he decides to go to the Oval we’ve got safety protocols there that are, not only from a PPE standpoint but a ventilation standpoint, in the Oval where we can actually work to that end as well.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend that individuals self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms. Trump first tested positive six days ago, and he was on supplemental oxygen as recently as Saturday.

White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE said Wednesday that Trump visited the Oval Office on Tuesday, five days after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and as he continues to receive treatment for the virus.

“The president actually showed up in the Oval Office yesterday with extra precautions with respect to his COVID-19. He’s getting a lot better, he’s much stronger, so there was some limited activity,” Kudlow said during a phone interview on CNBC.

Kudlow also did not directly answer when asked if Trump was wearing a mask when he came into the Oval Office, saying only that aides took “additional precautions.”

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“I can’t be specific ... this is the work of the top rung of the federal government. The president, as you have seen, has been masking quite a bit and everyone else who comes into contact in the Oval — the traffic is limited as you might expect — but there are additional precautions, additional measures that have been taken, much greater than simply masking,” Kudlow said.

But Meadows’s team said Kudlow misspoke, and that Trump did not actually make it into the Oval Office. 

“While the President wanted to be in the Oval Office yesterday, he was not there—he stayed back in the residence working from there,” Meadows spokesman Ben Williamson tweeted. “Safety preparations have been underway in the event he moves to working out of the Oval in the coming days.”

The president spent the day on Tuesday firing off tweets that put an end to stimulus negotiations and seizing on revelations about the Russia investigation, though he did not make any public appearances.

Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Thursday evening and spent 72 hours receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before returning to the White House on Monday evening.

White House physician Sean Conley on Monday would not say how the medical team planned to keep Trump safely quarantined, but indicated at the time that he would not try to limit the president to the residence.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes for the president to safely conduct business, whatever it is he needs to do within the residence and White House,” Conley said.

Conley said in a memo Tuesday that the president was reporting no symptoms from the virus, after experiencing a cough, nasal congestion and fatigue. Trump also experienced drops in his oxygen level twice last week as well as a high fever on Friday, but Conley has said that the president has remained fever-free for several days.

Trump has appeared eager to return to work, and was criticized heavily by health experts when he removed his face mask after returning to the White House on Monday night. Trump said Tuesday that he wants to participate in the Oct. 15 debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE, but it is unclear whether it will be safe for him to do so next week, given his COVID-19 diagnosis.

— Updated at 9:39 a.m.