AN MSNBC host said Donald Trump was "struggling to breathe" as he stood outside White House following his Covid-19 diagnosis.
Rachel Maddow made the comments on Monday as Trump returned to Washington, DC – just 72 hours after he was admitted to Walter Reed.
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Footage appeared to show Trump gasping for breath and "wincing in pain" on the South Portico terrace yesterday as he addressed reporters from the balcony.
The Trump administration released a video on Twitter praising the work of doctors and staff at the military hospital and reassured the public he was doing well.
But Maddow described the 74-year-old's triumphant return home from hospital as an “unnerving spectacle of the president really, visibly appearing to struggle for breath."
She accused him of staging "a kind of performative return that may have tried to be a sort of triumphant ‘I beat the virus’ thing with Marine One landing right next to the White House."
On Tuesday afternoon, White House physician Dr Sean Conley confirmed that Trump had a "restful first night at home" and "today, he reports no symptoms," with his vital signs and physical exam remaining stable.
"Overall he continues to do extremely well," Conley concluded his statement. "I will provide updates as we know more."
Despite his continued recovery, Maddow appeared to be skeptical of Trump "tromping up the stairs into the White House."
"This may have tried to be a sort of triumphant return impression, but the real impression it created was something almost opposite to that," she said.
"[He turned] out to face the cameras while he was – [it] could be plainly seen – really gasping for air, huffing and puffing, mouth breathing, and trying to pull in air while his chest sort of rose and fell with difficulty, looking out at the cameras.”
Meanwhile, Trump has said he "feels good" and "better than I did 20 years ago" after he underwent intensive medical treatments and observation at Walter Reed.
The president said he will participate in the debate against Joe Biden on October 15 in Miami and slammed the media on Twitter for just focussing on the virus rather than "how good the Economy and Stock Market" are doing.
But Maddow urged viewers to "spare a thought for the White House staff as well, you know, for the military aides and the cooks and the gardeners and the security guards and the butlers and the valets and everybody in that complex."
She issued a stinging rebuke at Trump for "ripping off his mask" while he spoke at a distance from others, and for "walking into the White House complex, not wearing it."
"This is a man who tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday," she continued.
"He has had symptoms serious enough to require multiple days in the hospital and supplemental oxygen and all sorts of experimental therapies, who even tonight appears to be struggling to breathe.
"He’s insisting on being not just out of the hospital but being back home in a house that is also a workplace for hundreds of people. And he is apparently not going to wear a mask there.”
Before his return to Washington, DC, on Monday, Trump reassured the American public as he continues his recovery, saying "don’t let [Covid-19] dominate your life."
"We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!" he tweeted.
The president was airlifted to the medical facility last Friday, where he had received medical treatment following his diagnosis.
As his battle with the virus continues, Trump did urge Americans to be cautious and careful as he prepares to get back on the campaign trail with just four weeks to go until the US presidential election.
"Get out there, be careful," he said in his video address. "We have the best medicines in the world, and it’ll all happen very shortly. And they’re all getting approved and the vaccines are coming momentarily."
The infection has spread rapidly around the White House since his top aide Hope Hicks fell ill last week, with First Lady Melania Trump and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany both testing positive.
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