President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE on Friday participated in his first on-camera interview since testing positive for COVID-19, during which he admitted that he remained hospitalized for observation after scans showed some congestion in his lungs and touted the benefits of his early treatment.
The president offered a rosy outlook of his path forward in a pre-recorded interview with Fox News medical contributor Marc Siegel. Trump spoke to Siegel from the Rose Garden, while the doctor was based in a network studio.
Trump insisted that he was feeling well and that he had been “medication free” since earlier in the day. But he acknowledged that he experienced fatigue and could have faced a more dire outcome without the access to medical care he has as president.
“They tested the lungs, they checked for the lungs and they tested with different machinery … and it tested good,” Trump said of his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “Initially I think they had some congestion in there, but ultimately it tested good. And with each day it got better, and I think that’s why they wanted me to stay.”
The president also reported feeling fatigued after contracting the virus. While he did not discuss it on Friday, Trump also required supplemental oxygen, according to his physician, before being taken to the hospital.
The president — who has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the virus and falsely claimed that the disease affects “virtually” no young people — highlighted the importance of early treatment for combating COVID-19.
“The biggest thing is that I did do it early,” Trump said. “Now I have such great access to medical … so it’s a lot easier for me than somebody who doesn’t have access to a doctor so easily.”
“And, you know, I think it would have gotten a lot worse. One of the doctors said he thought it would have gotten a lot worse,” he added. “I just think that even these medications, they’re a lot better if you get them early than if you get them late. I think going in early is a big factor in my case.”
The president tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 1. He was taken to the hospital on Oct. 2, and he was discharged Oct. 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance advises that those infected with COVID-19 isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or longer in more serious cases.
Trump has repeatedly touted the benefits of an antibody cocktail he was given upon his diagnosis, calling it a “miracle” and a “cure.” But the treatment from Regeneron is still in the trial phase and is not widely available to the public.
Trump has politicized other treatments for the virus, including hydroxychloroquine, and pushed the Food and Drug Administration to approve the use of convalescent plasma as a therapy for COVID-19 patients.
Asked Friday if he would donate his plasma, Trump said he would “love to do it.”
In addition to the Regeneron antibody treatment, the president was given dexamethasone, a steroid, and remdesivir, an antiviral infusion. Trump admitted that he tried to “negotiate” with his doctors over his treatment but that he listened to them for the most part.
The White House has refused to say when Trump’s most recent negative test for COVID-19 was, and it did not appear to come on Friday. The president said he had been tested earlier in the day, but did not appear familiar with the results.
He was also unfamiliar with where he might have gotten infected, but acknowledged that the White House had hosted many large gatherings in recent weeks. One event, the Supreme Court nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, has been deemed a superspreader event by Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 during policy-focused debate Eric Trump claims his father ‘literally saved Christianity’ Overnight Health Care: Trump works from Oval Office after COVID-19 diagnosis | GOP frustrated by Trump’s messages on aid | Eli Lilly asks for emergency authorization of antibody treatment MORE, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, after roughly a dozen attendees tested positive.
Trump does not appear to have learned his lesson from the risk of those large events, however; he is expected to speak at an event on Saturday to hundreds of supporters on the South Lawn, an even larger crowd than the one that had gathered in the Rose Garden on Sept. 26.
And Trump is slated to attend a campaign rally in Florida on Monday, with additional stops likely to be announced in the coming days.