President Trump, who has gone out of his way in the past week to portray himself as a strongman who’s defeated COVID-19 amid mixed messaging from the White House on his condition, floated the idea of wearing a Superman shirt after his discharge from Walter Reed last week.
According to the New York Times on Saturday, the President told advisers during several phone calls last weekend from the presidential suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center about an outlandish idea he had as he would exit the military hospital where he spent four days undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
People with knowledge of the conversations told the Times that Trump envisioned himself appearing frail as he exited Walter Reed, but would reveal a Superman t-shirt underneath his button-down dress shirt as he ripped open the top layer. The move — which did not ultimately come through — would be part of the President’s attempts to convey strength following his COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.
Although the Superman stunt wasn’t a feature of Trump’s departure from Walter Reed, the President pulled showboating tactics before and after his discharge from the military hospital. A day before his discharge, Trump held a motorcade publicity stunt in front of the hospital. The next day, the COVID-infected President essentially held a photo-op as he returned to the White House and took off his mask.
The Times noted that the President has expressed his itch to return to the campaign trail to advisers. The White House event on Saturday — which was his first public event since his discharge from Walter Reed — was a compromise from advisers, who preferred delaying Trump’s re-entry on the campaign trail.