Things quickly got awkward during Monday afternoon’s broadcast of Fox News panel show Outnumbered when anchor Harris Faulkner mistook co-host Pete Hegseth’s first-person account of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis as his own, wishing Hegseth a “speedy recovery from COVID-19.”
Discussing the president’s hospitalization due to coronavirus and his dangerous Sunday afternoon joyride to reassure supporters he was recovering from the disease, Hegseth brushed off concerns about the White House doctors misleading the public on the dangers of Trump’s illness.
“The top-line thought is we didn’t know initially how serious the prognosis was and what the developments would look like,” he said. “Thank goodness his condition has improved, he will likely be released soon, that is good news no matter where you are on the political spectrum.”
Hegseth, a part-time adviser for the president, then gushed over the president’s recent Twitter videos from Walter Reed before claiming that it shows the president is “leading from the front” on the pandemic. He then began speaking in the first-person as Trump.
“I had a choice, I could stay at the White House or go to Walter Reed and take this very seriously, I had a choice to hide in a bunker or be out with the American people,” Hegseth declared, adding, “I’m right there with you, I somehow also was able to contract it despite being in an incredibly secure bubble and I’m going to get through this just like so many of you have.”
While Hegseth was parroting the same narrative that fellow pro-Trump Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld did—which was that the president “put himself on the line” and got sick “for us”—Faulkner apparently mistook Hegseth remarks as him personally revealing his own diagnosis.
“Pete, I may be living under a very large-sized rock but I didn’t know that about that, my friend, and I wish you a speedy recovery from COVID-19,” she said with a sound of sincere concern in her voice.
“Who, me?!” Hegseth exclaimed.
“Yes,” Faulkner replied. “Isn’t that what you just said?”
“No, no, no, no—I’m talking about the president,” Hegseth clarified.
“I heard you use first-person and I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” Faulkner reacted.
Hegseth, however, noted that he was at the Rose Garden event earlier this month that has been linked to an increasing number of positive cases among White House officials, Republican senators, and other attendees.
“I have been tested, I tested negative,” he added. “There are people that were there that didn’t get it but I was talking about the president and his situation.”
“Alright, when you quoted that first person, I—good, I’m glad we’re on record clearing that up,” the Fox anchor stated. “And also that you’re healthy, obviously.”
There is reportedly concern among employees at Fox News over the number of network hosts and commentators who were present at both the Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and last Tuesday’s presidential debate, which featured a number of Trump family members and White House aides flouting mask requirements. Besides Hegseth, primetime star Laura Ingraham also attended the Barrett event.
While Hegseth didn’t surprisingly reveal he was ill with COVID-19 on Monday, another Fox News personality did. Moments after the awkward encounter, Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner pointed out that she had “fully recovered” from a “blessedly mild case” of coronavirus, adding that her doctors were never able to figure out how she contracted the disease.
“I wore masks all the time, I stayed away from other people indoors and somehow managed to contract it anyway,” she continued. “My husband at the same time, who I obviously live with, stayed negative the entire time.”