Trump advisers reportedly hoped he'd be 'a changed man' after his COVID-19 battle. They were quickly disappointed.

Donald Trump
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Advisers to former President Donald Trump were reportedly hoping his battle with COVID-19 last year would give him a "newfound appreciation for the seriousness" of the virus — only for it to ultimately become clear he "hadn't changed at all."

A new excerpt from the book Nightmare Scenario published Thursday in The Washington Post describes the "extraordinary effort to get Trump lifesaving drugs" when he contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized in October 2020. According to the book, Trump's medical advisers hoped during this time that his illness "would inspire him to take the virus seriously." They hoped he would "emerge from Walter Reed a changed man" after receiving this "wake-up call," with the advisers seeing this as a "last chance" to turn the country's COVID-19 response around, and "some even began mentally preparing to finally speak their minds."

In fact, according to the book, then-CDC Director Robert Redfield "prayed that [Trump] would emerge from the experience with a newfound appreciation for the seriousness of the threat," hoping he would urge all Americans to listen to public health experts "before it was too late." But the book describes how in actuality, Trump "emerged from the experience triumphant and ever more defiant," releasing a video telling Americans they shouldn't let COVID-19 "take over your lives."

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According to the book, Redfield's hopes for a dramatic pivot from Trump were dashed in real time as he watched the president return to the White House from his COVID-19 hospitalization and almost immediately remove his mask.

"Right then, Redfield knew it was over," the book says. "Trump showed in that moment that he hadn't changed at all. The pandemic response wasn't going to change, either." Read more at The Washington Post.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.