President Donald Trump said he feels “really good, really strong,” yet declined to clearly state whether he had tested negative for the coronavirus in a remote, televised “health assessment” performed on Fox News by Dr. Marc Siegel, a frequent Fox News contributor.
The president said he’d been “medication-free” for the last eight hours in his appearance on host Tucker Carlson’s show at 8 p.m. Eastern on Friday night — his first on-screen interview since contracting the coronavirus. He later revised that claim to say he had taken “pretty much nothing” and had taken his “final doses of just about everything” that day.
Asked if he had been tested for the virus on Friday, Trump dodged, saying “I have been retested and I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet — I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.”
Siegel, a pro-Trump internist in New York City, remotely interviewed Trump, who was filmed at the White House, and noted it was “not officially a televisit.” The doctor has previously spread misinformation about coronavirus in his appearances on Fox News.
Trump described his state while at the hospital last weekend as “tired, you didn’t have the same energy level.” The president credited the fact that he “got there very early,” noting that “one of the doctors thought it would have gotten a lot worse” if he had not.
Trump tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday of last week and was hospitalized for three days over the weekend. Since he returned to the White House on Monday — flouting public health guidelines to quarantine for at least 10 days following the onset of COVID-19 symptoms — the president has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the illness, calling it a “blessing from God” that he was infected and telling Americans “don’t be afraid” of the virus.
The coronavirus has killed over 213,000 people in the U.S. so far this year.
In the Fox News interview, Trump also addressed his widely criticized drive near the hospital to wave to supporters while still hospitalized, saying “it was a great display of love out there” and that he wanted to “go out and say hi.”
Trump also claimed that his Secret Service agents — two of whom were in the car with him, risking their health — had “no problem” with it.
“I love the people of this country and I thought it would have been very disrespectful … if I didn’t go out and at least give them a wave,” Trump said. “I’m very glad I did it.”
Friday’s Fox News interview extended Trump’s recent tour of right-wing media shows, including phone calls into Sean Hannity’s Fox News program on Thursday and right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh’s show earlier on Friday.
Meanwhile, since Trump left Walter Reed hospital on Monday, his medical team has not held a single press event where reporters could ask questions about the president’s health.
In Friday’s Fox News interview, Trump was asked whether he knew where he’d caught the virus.
“I don’t know. They had some big events at the White House, perhaps there,” the president said. ”You know, people have contracted it all over the world.”
He went on to downplay the virus yet again, saying that while it’s a “contagious disease,” people “generally get better from it,” and that in regard to coronavirus-related closures, “the cure is worse than the problem itself.”
Last month, the White House was the location of a coronavirus “superspreader event,” per Dr. Anthony Fauci. Following the Sept. 26 Rose Garden celebration for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, multiple attendees tested positive for the virus, including the president, first lady Melania Trump and two Republican senators.
Over two dozen people connected to the White House have tested positive in recent days, including former adviser Kellyanne Conway, current adviser Stephen Miller and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who remains hospitalized.
Trump plans to hold an in-person event at the White House on Saturday with hundreds of attendees expected.