Trump Tells Sean Hannity He’s Ready for In-Person Events After Hospitalization (but Keeps Coughing)


Ben Gabbe/Getty; Win McNamee/Getty Sean Hannity (left) and President Donald Trump

Sounding more hoarse than usual and occasionally interrupting himself to cough and clear his throat, President Donald Trump called into Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Thursday night to give an update on his diagnosis with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and sound off — in Trump fashion — on other topics.

“I think I’m going to try doing a rally on Saturday night, if we have enough time to put it together,” said Trump, less than a day before aides said that he would actually speak with supporters at the White House instead.

Trump, 74, then quickly changed the subject when the Fox News host asked if he had been tested for COVID-19 since his diagnosis a week ago.

“Well what we’re doing is, probably, the test will be tomorrow,” the president said. “The actual test, because there’s no reason to test all the time. But they found very little infection, or virus — if any … I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors.”

As viewers noted, Trump audibly cleared his throat and coughed at least twice during the interview, sometimes appearing quite hoarse.

The moments were notable in the context of his recovery: White House doctors have said Trump is doing well enough to return from the hospital to finish his treatment, though the medical team previously gave a conflicting account of his health and admitted to projecting optimism.

Since returning home from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump has said his treatment course made him improve drastically, and fast. His doctors said he received steroids, an antiviral and experimental antibodies but noted Monday he may be “entirely out of the woods.”

RELATED: Trump Calls Coronavirus Diagnosis ‘a Blessing from God’ as Doctors Say His Health Is ‘Stable’

Calling into Hannity’s show on Thursday, when he wasn’t speaking about COVID-19 — a highly contagious virus that Trump has publicly downplayed since it began sweeping across the country early this year — the conversation veered widely.

At one point, Trump falsely claimed Democrats in California want to “ration water … to take care of certain little tiny fish.”

During another segment, the president attacked Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whom authorities said was the intended victim of a foiled kidnapping plot. And he called Sen. Kamala Harris a “monster.”

The president also spoke about the fate of the remaining debates between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, which have been mired in controversy since the debate commission announced that the next event, on Oct. 15, would be held virtually out of health concerns.

“I’m not gonna do a virtual debate — sit behind a computer screen,” Trump told Hannity. “And that gives him the answers, because they’ll be handing him the answers.”

The president’s medical team has said his health is in stable condition, though it’s unclear if Trump might still be contagious — making any in-person debates or events particularly precarious (for both Trump, who was hospitalized due to his COVID-19 diagnosis, and other attendees).

Until he resumes his favored public events with supporters, Trump seems likely to continue appearances by phone. He spoke with popular conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Friday.

He was also slated for a remote “evaluation” by Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel, set to air Friday night.

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