The way this administration has handled the public disclosure of President Donald Trump's condition will become a case study on mismanaging a chief executive's personal health crisis.
But then, what's new? The Trump mishandling of the entire pandemic is already one for the ages. No one knows how many deaths can be attributed to the mixed messages, total lies and erroneous information peddled by POTUS and his people continuously minimizing the risk of the coronavirus.
As a result, we have little idea of what's going on with the state of the health of President Trump. We do know what is purported to be video of a weary Trump walking on his own to Marine One, his helicopter, to be transported to Walter Reed hospital. We do know that after so many questions were raised about his actual condition that he appeared on still another tape to declare: "I came here; wasn't feeling so well. I feel much better now." But was he propped up for it?
And the reckless decision of the Trumpster to take a little road trip and giving a thumbs up to supporters was an obvious raising of another digit to his doctors' preferences — not only that, endangering the lives of everyone riding in his hermetically sealed armored vehicle.
White House head physician Sean Conley hasn't helped. His rosy press briefing has left huge gaps in what the nation needed to hear. Finally, Conley admitted Trump was on oxygen. The president's early checkout flies right in the face of reluctant disclosures that his treatment had included dexamethasone, a steroid usually given to patients to treat severe lung abnormalities.
Was Dr. Conley's inconsistency the usual physician dissembling, or was he ordered from on high to bob and weave? Was Trump's return to normal temperature from high fever the result of the aspirin he took?
The televised encounter with reporters was so embarrassing that immediately after the first briefing ended, "a person familiar with the president's health" painted a drearier description: "The president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care."
It turns out the anonymous source was White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. But what is the prognosis for a 74-year-old obese man with various other health conditions? And how come Meadows didn't wear a face mask while briefing the huddled reporters?
By the way, Conley explained away his initial prevarication: "I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, over his course of illness, has had." Spinning is not his job. In this kind of situation, the unvarnished truth is required.
How long will the president need to be treated back at "home" at the White House, particularly when he is running for re-election? And is the campaigning Mike Pence preparing for at least a temporary takeover? Additionally, we need a continuous accounting of the health of Pence and, for that matter, Joe Biden.
This is all a part of the information an "informed electorate" needs in a helter-skelter election that has been made even more chaotic. During his hospital stay, Trump did a Twitter video talking about how much he had learned from his COVID experience. In another tweet, though, he said, "Don't be afraid of COVID." Apparently he has not learned anything.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN; his opinions are his own.