During a Thursday night interview in which he repeatedly stopped to cough and catch his breath, President Donald Trump wouldn’t reveal whether he’s been tested since he was diagnosed with the coronavirus but did say he hopes to hold a campaign rally in Florida this Saturday night.
Prior to Trump’s call with Fox News host Sean Hannity, the president’s doctor—who admitted he lied to the public about Trump’s health after he was hospitalized with COVID-19—cleared Trump to return to public events this coming weekend.
“Overall he’s responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects,” Dr. Sean Conley wrote in a letter Thursday evening. “Saturday will be Day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements at that time.”
After asking how the president and the first lady were feeling, Hannity brought up Conley’s letter, wondering aloud whether Trump has received a test yet to see if he’s COVID-free.
“Yeah, I just saw the doctors today,” the president said. “They think I’m in great shape.”
“Did you test negative?” Hannity, a close confidant and adviser to the president, replied.
Instead of answering the Fox host’s question, the president brought up the experimental antibody treatment from biotech firm Regeneron that he received during his hospital stay, saying “it’s phenomenal” and “absolutely incredible.” The president then talked about holding public rallies as soon as this weekend.
“I think I’m going to try doing a rally on Saturday night if we can, if we have enough time to put it together, but we want to do a rally in Florida, probably in Florida on Saturday night, might come back and do one in Pennsylvania on the following night,” Trump said. “I feel so good!”
Hannity, to his credit, again tried to get the president to answer definitively whether he’s been tested for the virus since being diagnosed, let alone gotten a negative result.
“Well, what we’re doing is probably, the test will be tomorrow, and the actual test, because there’s no reason to test all the time, but they found very little infection or virus, if any,” Trump responded. “I don’t know if they found any, I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors.”
The president appeared to stifle a cough and gasp for air a bit while discussing the recent debate kerfuffle, even seeming to put his phone on mute for a few seconds. Later in the interview, the president’s voice grew muffled and raspy, and he cleared his throat and coughed several times.
Since last week, when the president first revealed he had the coronavirus, at least 34 people connected to the White House have tested positive for the virus. Despite the Trumpworld outbreak and the likeliness of at least one “superspreader” event, the White House has refused to say when the president last tested negative prior to going public with his positive test result early last Friday.