Although President Trump and members of his inner circle caught COVID and managed to bounce back unscathed, often after receiving special treatment, one White House official lost a leg in his three-month battle against the disease and racked up thousands of dollars in medical debt along the way, according to a family friend.
Crede Bailey, a White House security office director, was hospitalized with COVID this September, Bloomberg News reported. This autumn, dozens of people in Trump’s orbit contracted COVID even as the president regularly downplayed its devastating effects.
Bailey lost the big toe on his left foot, as well as his lower right leg, according to the GoFundMe page started by friend Dawn McCrobie. Two people familiar with Bailey confirmed that McCrobie is a friend of his, but did not want to be identified, Bloomberg News reported.
On the fundraising site, McCrobie wrote that she started the page to help Bailey pay off the debt he accumulated for staying in the hospital for months. The money will also go towards helping Bailey and his family make adjustments to their home in order to accommodate his new disability, as well as the months of physical rehab ahead. As of Tuesday, the site had raised more than $50,000.
“We don't want Crede or his family to carry the financial burden, we need them to focus on his health and recovery. Please donate whatever amount you can!,” McCrobie wrote.
Despite the on-going pandemic, the Associated Press reported earlier this month that the White House has continued scheduling dozens of parties and gatherings for the holiday season. They have previously held several events with unmasked guests, including a Hanukkah celebration held last Wednesday.
In a pair of updates on GoFundMe this month, Crobie said that Bailey is in great spirits after his hellish diagnosis, and asked that all friends and family avoid talking to the media about his life-changing experience.
“After all, he is a public servant - not a celebrity, a politician, or someone in the public eye,” McCrobie wrote. “Perhaps the story isn’t really about Crede at all. I mean, [the media’s] messages say it’s about him [...] but maybe the stories are about something else and Crede’s experience just plays into those stories.”
Crobie did not respond to VICE News’ request for comment.
VICE News was unable to get in contact with Crede Bailey.
The White House did not immediately return VICE News’ request for comment.
President Trump contracted the virus in October and has since recovered. Others, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, First Lady Melania Trump, and most recently, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have all caught COVID and recovered without issue. The president and many people close with him received special medical care, including antibody treatments that are not available to the general public.
Across the country, COVID-19 infection numbers continue to grow. On Monday, as U.S. began to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for the first time, the country’s total death toll surpassed 300,000.