President Trump underwent a “televisit” of sorts on Fox News, his first on-camera interview since being hospitalised with the coronavirus, and admitted he “didn’t feel like how the President of the United States should feel”.
The commander-in-chief was pressed on his experience with the virus during a taped “medical examination” with Dr Mark Siegel, a Fox News contributor, on Friday evening.
“What were your two most prominent symptoms?” Siegel asked the President.
“I didn’t feel strong, didn’t feel really strong. I didn’t have a problem with breathing, which a lot of people have, I didn’t have a problem with that,” Trump said of his hospitalisation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre.
“But I didn’t feel very strong, I didn’t feel very vital like the President of the United States should feel,” he went on.
When Trump left hospital he said he could have left earlier because he felt better than he had in a long time.
“Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen,” he said at the time.
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Trump spoke for the first time in intimate detail about his four-day stay at Walter Reed and described having a “sore throat” and feeling fatigued. He credited early action with his speedy recovery.
He said he was no longer taking any medication after being treated with an experimental cocktail of drugs like Regeneron which are not yet approved for widespread use, but vowed to make them available for the American people.
Siegel pressed the president on scans of his lungs performed by doctors — the results of which have never been released.
“They tested the lungs,” Trump said.
“They tested the lungs. They have incredible equipment at Walter Reed. In fact they said, ‘No, you can leave your jacket on’. I said, ‘I’ll take it off anyway, if you want’.
“Initially it had some congestion in there but ultimately it tested good and with each day it got better,” he went on, without going into further detail.
On Thursday evening, White House physician Dr Sean Conley said the president had completed his treatment and cleared him to return to his public duties.
Trump, eager to get back on the campaign trail, has since announced a “law and order” speech in front of a crowd on the White House South Lawn and a comeback rally in Florida.
Siegel, 64, is an associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Centre and did not treat the president throughout his coronavirus ordeal.
The physician, who is a Fox News medical contributor, has also been criticised for his remarks on the pandemic after he claimed in March that there was “no reason to believe it’s actually more problematic or deadly than influenza”.
Siegel also called the World Health Organisation — a UN body since condemned for failing to crack down on the origins of the plague in Wuhan, China — a bunch of “alarmists” and “saber rattlers”.
Siegel asked Trump where he thought he contracted the virus following a week of travel around the country.
Earlier Friday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the government’s coronavirus task force called the Rose Garden confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s Supreme Court nominee as a “super spreader event.”
“They had some big events at the White House. I’m not sure,” the president said.