Doctors to weigh if Trump can leave hospital on Monday: Trump aide

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is being treated for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. October 4, 2020, in this still image taken from a video posted on Trump's twitter page. DONALD TRUMP via TWITTER via REUTERS.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s medical team will weigh whether he can leave the hospital later on Monday after being admitted last week for COVID-19, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said, adding that he was optimistic Trump will be discharged.

Meadows, in an interview with Fox News, said he had spoken with Trump earlier on Monday morning and that his condition appeared to have improved overnight. He added that doctors would consult with Trump late Monday morning and that a decision about Trump’s possible discharge would likely not be decided until early Monday afternoon.

“That determination has not been made yet,” he said. “His health continues to improve.”

“We’re still optimistic ... that he will be released, but that decision won’t be made until later today,” he added.

Meadows also defended a controversial decision for the president to leave his hospital suite on Sunday to drive by supporters outside Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, despite having the highly infectious novel coronavirus. Critics said the action put Trump’s security officers at risk.

Meadows noted that U.S. Secret Service had been with Trump before in cars and had traveled with him to the hospital. Critics, including some medical experts, have said the additional drive outside the hospital was an unnecessary risk.

“We took additional precautions with PPE (personal protective gear) and others to make sure that they were protected,” he said.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Catherine Evans and Chizu Nomiyama