Despite his insistence that he’s made an “amazing” recovery from being infected with COVID-19, President Donald Trump coughed, hacked, and at one point lost his voice during a Thursday evening phone interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Shortly before the president spoke with Hannity, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, released a statement on Trump’s health which read in part:
“Overall he’s responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects. 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.”
Hannity mentioned the Conley letter and asked Trump if his most recent coronavirus test had been negative, to which the president responded:
“Yeah, I just saw the doctors today. They think I’m in great shape.”
Once again, Hannity asked about Trump’s most recent test for the virus:
“Did you test negative?”
Rather than answer the question, the president began talking about experimental antibody treatments and that he was planning to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday evening:
“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. I feel so good!”
When Hannity asked a third time about being tested, Trump told him:
“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. I don’t know if they found any, I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors.”
That’s when the coughing began. Trump attempted to stifle a cough and could be heard gasping for air. His voice became raspy and he had to clear his throat and cough on several occasions:
Yikes. Trump’s voice is extremely hoarse and at one point gave out. pic.twitter.com/kf0gwNyPCI
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 9, 2020
The President continues to have trouble speaking pic.twitter.com/EQi3dE8G9d
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 9, 2020
Dr. Jonathan Reiner noted Friday morning on CNN that if Trump thinks he can hold out for an entire rally while still recovering from COVID-19, he’s likely to be humiliated:
“The president has had a respiratory infection, probably a relatively severe respiratory infection. He will the not be able to speak for his usual 90 minutes, he will start coughing. He’ll have trouble standing at the podium for an hour and he’ll look weak.
“If I were his adviser, I would use just that word. I would say, sir, you’re just recovering now. If you try and give your typical speech, you will look weak.”
With his poll numbers already in freefall, a disastrous rally could all but seal Trump’s fate come Election Day.
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