President Trump facing criticism after surprise motorcade ride while battling COVID-19

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ByJaclyn Lee via WPVI logo
Monday, October 5, 2020
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President Trump is drawing swift blowback after a last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters on Sunday outside Walter Reed Medical Center.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- President Donald Trump is drawing swift blowback after a last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters on Sunday.

While the president is still battling COVID-19 at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, he decided to go out and surprise his supporters.

"I think it's really selfish," said Karina Malkonyan of Philadelphia. "He's already hurt so many people and to do it so directly is just like really terrible."

Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, criticized the move on Twitter saying, "The presidential SUV is not only bulletproof but hermetically sealed against a chemical attack. The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play."

"I think he's been taking the risk all along," said Gilbert Blount of Strawberry Mansion. "I think that he really wants to be re-elected, that could be the reason why he's trying to show a bit of strength in terms of having the COVID-19 and then trying to make it out of the hospital beforehand. But if he's still sick, he should just stay in there."

VIDEO: Doctors' Sunday update on Pres. Trump's condition

Infectious disease experts tell ABC News that President Trump is likely still infectious but we do not know when he was initially infected. They say the people inside the car with him are at the greatest risk, even if the president was wearing a mask.

"I understand that he wants to show his supporters that he's doing ok and he's alright, but I certainly hope he didn't risk his personal health or safety or the safety of others in order to make that showing to the public," said Leisa Samuels of Roxborough.

A spokesperson for the Secret Service said, "The Secret Service will continue to follow established protocols to ensure the safety of our employees. The Secret Service does not discuss our protectees or the specific means and methods regarding our protective mission."

Some voters said they don't believe this will affect the outcome of the election at all.

RELATED: Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis may affect the election in several ways

"I think everyone has decided, and if you haven't decided by now, I don't know what to tell you," said Rosie Morales of Manayunk.

Others say they hope people take the virus more seriously.

"It just makes me hope, in an ideal world, that he's going to start taking COVID more seriously, start taking masks more seriously like in the next few months," said Alex Eaton of East Falls.