After exiting Marine One, Trump entered the White House through the Blue Room balcony and not the typical entry of the residence. He walked upstairs from the South Portico. He then took off his mask while on the balcony and put it in his pocket while he gave two thumbs up.
TV viewers got a highly unusual view of the presidential helicopter as it flew along the Potomac, past the Pentagon, and then banked and turned towards the National Mall near Reagan National Airport before landing on the White House South Lawn.
6:52 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
Trump leaves Walter Reed to return to the White House
From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Maeve Reston and Allie Malloy
"Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life," Trump wrote, even as his doctors warned he wasn't yet "out of the woods." The building he's returning to has become a center for viral contagion — in part because of disregard for mitigation measures.
Trump emerged from the front doors of the hospital at 6:38 p.m. ET with a fist pump.
He made his way down several steps on his own accord dressed in a suit and wearing a mask. Trump waved to the press and said "thank you very much" and gave a thumbs up before getting into the motorcade. He now has a short drive to Marine One.
He ignored shouted questions from reporters.
Watch the moment:
6:36 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
Trump tweets about campaign trail ahead of departure
From CNN's Allie Malloy
President Trump tweeted that he'll be "back on the Campaign Trail soon" ahead of his departure from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center tonight.
Previously, Trump's doctors have said his condition required intravenous medication and, on at least two occasions, supplemental oxygen.
Earlier today, Trump's physician Dr. Sean Conley insisted Trump was well enough to return home.
"He's met or exceeded all hospital discharge criteria," he told reporters outside Walter Reed. "We plan to get him home."
6:11 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
Trump's name was on list of negative Covid-19 tests submitted before Tuesday's debate, Cleveland Clinic says
From CNN’s Nadia Kounang
President Trump’s name was on a list of names of people who had tested negative for the coronavirus before last Tuesday’s presidential debate, the Cleveland Clinic said Monday – and indicated that he would have had to have tested positive within 72 hours of the debate.
But the clinic, which acted as health security adviser to the Commission on Presidential Debates, did not review the test results, clinic spokesperson Angie Kiska told CNN.
Kiska told CNN that the Clinic suggested the campaigns begin testing on Sept. 27 because that “covered into the night of the debate.” Once a person had submitted a confirmed negative test result, they did not have to submit any further testing.
“The Cleveland Clinic required everyone entering the debate hall to have a negative COVID-19 test. This was also required by the White House medical team,” the Cleveland Clinic said in a separate statement sent to CNN.
“The campaigns had existing testing protocols, which were reviewed as part of the planning process in which the Cleveland Clinic, the Commission on Presidential Debates and the campaigns participated. After that review, it was agreed that the campaigns’ respective medical teams would be (1) responsible for testing their respective candidates and entourages, and (2) required to certify to the Clinic on the day of the debate that all of those individuals had been tested by their medical teams with a negative test result within the approved time period before the debate. Each campaign complied with this requirement.”
Both campaigns had to submit the names of those who tested negative within the 72 hours prior to the end of the debate, Kiska said.
The submitted names, including that of the President and former Vice President Joe Biden, were reviewed by the Cleveland Clinic. However, the Clinic did not have to review actual test findings or see proof of negative results, said Kiska. She also said the date of the test was not required.
Under the agreed protocols, the campaigns were allowed to use any diagnostic test that had been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. That would include both rapid antigen tests and the gold-standard PCR diagnostic test. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rapid antigen tests are generally less sensitive – less accurate at generating true positive readings — than PCR tests.
5:28 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
McConnell says Senate is "praying" for Trump's recovery
From CNN's Clare Foran
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate is “praying for a quick healing and smooth recovery for President Trump and the first lady.”
McConnell said he spoke with Trump two times over the phone during the weekend and that both times Trump’s “spirits were high,” and that their topics of conversation included discussing Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
McConnell accused Democrats of holding up coronavirus stimulus relief and said “for the sake of our nation let’s hope they finally lay down their partisan demands and let our country get back on offense against this disease.”
He also said that members will receive at least 24 hours notice “if any votes on urgent matters are scheduled before October the 19th,” noting that otherwise that is when the full Senate will next convene.
But the majority leader made sure to say that despite that “we are full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, and timely confirmation process that Judge Barrett, the court and the nation deserve.”
5:55 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
Biden's message to Trump: "Listen to the scientists, support masks"
From CNN's Sarah Mucha
After wishing President Trump and first lady Melania Trump well during their convalescence, Joe Biden, wearing a mask for his remarks, sent a message to the President asking him to listen to the science.
Speaking in Little Havana in Miami, Biden said his prayers continue to be with the President and first lady, who, "like so many American families are dealing with Covid-19."
"I was glad to see the President speaking and recording videos over the weekend. Now that he's busy tweeting campaign messages, I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists, support masks," Biden added.
He asked the President to support a national mask mandate.
4:49 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
Offices being set up for Trump near medical unit at White House
From CNN's Kevin Liptak
When President Trump returns to the White House this evening, his working spaces will be contained inside the executive mansion in temporary offices set up on the basement level adjacent to the White House medical suite, according to a person familiar with the plans.
While Trump has office space in his personal residence on the third floor of the White House, where he is also expected to work from, the temporary offices in the Map Room and the Diplomatic Reception Room will provide closer access to his physicians and medical equipment.
The Map Room is directly next door to the medical suite, which includes a reception area, an exam room, and Dr. Sean Conley's office. The diplomatic reception room is just down the hall.
The workspace will also serve to isolate the President in the residence away from the West Wing, where staffers this week have faced a fresh outbreak.
4:45 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
The Biden campaign is watching Trump's actions closely
From CNN’s Jeff Zeleny
The Biden campaign is carefully watching the actions of President Trump today, but intentionally avoiding being drawn into any criticism of Trump’s medical decisions — for now, at least.
Conversations with several advisers today echo the central premise of what Joe Biden told reporters before flying to Florida this morning: Any decisions about debates or their own campaign schedules will be based on science, not politics.
With the President scheduled to return to the White House tonight and the Trump campaign now saying he intends to debate on Oct. 15, the Biden campaign is highly skeptical of this. But they do not want to give Trump any ammunition to be able to suggest that Biden is afraid to debate, people familiar with the matter say.
“If the Trump campaign is trying to set a trap for us here, it won’t work,” a senior Biden adviser tells CNN.
The Biden advisers have repeatedly declined to talk about the White House’s refusal to say when Trump last tested negative. But it’s also an incident they aren’t eager to repeat.
So look for the Commission on Presidential Debates to be even more involved with testing protocols — should any other debates take place.
4:29 p.m. ET, October 5, 2020
Pence and Harris will be separated by plexiglass at Wednesday's debate
From CNN's Dan Merica
Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will be separated by plexiglass at Wednesday night’s debate, a source familiar with the preparations tells CNN, as the White House continues to be gripped by a coronavirus outbreak.
The commission, along with medical consultants at the Cleveland Clinic, made the decision on Monday after studying the airborne nature of the virus and as the number of positive cases in the White House continued to grow.
Despite the White House being gripped by a number of positive coronavirus tests and the fact that Pence attended a Rose Garden event over a week ago that is widely seen as the genesis for the spread throughout the White House, the vice president has continued to test negative and the debate is moving ahead as planned.
CNN previously reported that, in response to the coronavirus outbreak at the White House, the debate commission and both campaigns agreed that Pence and Harris would be separated by 12 feet and 8 inches on Wednesday, further away than originally planned.