2020 Election Live Updates: Trump to Host In-Person Event at White House Less Than a Week After Being Hospitalized for Covid-19


Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

And we’re back …

No, not quite back to normal. But just over a week after President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, he is about to start holding his beloved rallies again.

First up is Saturday at the White House, where Mr. Trump is expected to appear on the balcony and address a previously scheduled gathering of conservative activists at 2 p.m. On Monday, the president will return to must-win Florida, where he’ll attend his first battleground state rally since contracting the virus.

Mr. Trump’s rationale is easy to discern: He is eager to get back into the fray. And, more to the point, he’s hungry for the adulation of his supporters.

But the political wisdom of attending campaign events as a lethal virus ripples through the White House staff is dubious, at best.

Mr. Trump’s insistence since leaving the hospital that Covid-19 was nothing to dwell on and a challenge that can be easily overcome has highlighted the cavalier approach he has taken to the virus for six months. Returning to the campaign trail while the virus might still be working through his system will have the same effect. In an interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Friday, Mr. Trump said that he was “medication free.”

But as he trails Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the polls just over three weeks before Election Day, and with millions of votes are already being cast, Mr. Trump will not be denied.

Credit…Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday emphatically rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to limit the use of drop boxes and other efforts to expand voter access, saying that Republicans failed to even make a “speculative” case that such procedures will lead to fraud.

In a 138-page decision, U.S. District Court Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan, who was appointed to bench by President Trump, also rejected the Trump campaign’s effort to obtain a federal ruling to circumvent state requirements mandating that poll watchers prove they live in the area near the sites they are monitoring.

Judge Ranjan ruled that “the problem” with the case brought by the plaintiffs — the Trump campaign — was that their allegations of fraud were “not “concrete,” which gave them no standing in federal court.

“While plaintiffs may not need to prove actual voter fraud, they must at least prove that such fraud is ‘certainly impending,’” he added. “They haven’t met that burden.”

He also rejected the Trump campaign’s effort to reverse the state’s directive that county boards of elections not reject ballots “where the voter’s signature does not match the one on file.”

These matters are now being sent back to state courts, which have, thus far, also rejected Republican fraud allegations as unproven. The Trump campaign has the option of filing an appeal in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a lawyer involved in the lawsuit said.

The decision was a major victory for Democrats, who have accused Mr. Trump and his allies of trying to limit voting rights to minority groups in the state’s highest-density areas, and of busing in Trump campaign supporters to intimidate voters in the guise of monitoring polling places for fraud.

“Today is another loss for Republican’s effort to make voting more difficult and a victory for democracy and the millions of Pennsylvania voters who will vote by mail,” Marc Elias, a Democratic election lawyer who has been working on state level voting rights cases. “This court joins a chorus of other courts in rejecting the false claims of fraud Trump and the Republicans continue to advance for cynical political reasons.”

An email to the Trump campaign was not immediately returned.

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Biden Says He’ll Have to Win Election ‘Overwhelmingly’

Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, said during his stop in Las Vegas that he must win the election “overwhelmingly” to counter President Trump’s effort to undermine trust in the election results.

And so folks, look we’re going to be in a situation where we can’t make this, we can’t do it without you all. We cannot win without the community. And I’m going to say something somewhat self-serving about you all. The fact is you can determine the outcome of this election, not just, not just for president, but for the Senate, for the Congress. And that’s the biggest mark — the single most consequential thing anyone can do is vote. And when you vote and they add it up, and they see who delivered the vote, that’s the thing that guarantees, that guarantees significant input on what happens next. So come back next weekend, bring your family and bring five friends. I really mean it. Bring other people with you because that — he’s trying to scare us. He’s trying to continue to convince everybody there’s ways they can play with the vote and undermine the vote. They can’t. If we show up, we win. And look what’s happened in early voting all across America. Long lines, long lines. We can’t just win, we have to win overwhelmingly. So you can’t be in a position where he can put the phony challenges that he’s talking about.

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Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, said during his stop in Las Vegas that he must win the election “overwhelmingly” to counter President Trump’s effort to undermine trust in the election results.CreditCredit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Making a stop in Las Vegas during a two-day Western swing, Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday called President Trump’s efforts to undermine trust in the election results an attempt to “scare us” that could be countered only by giving Mr. Biden an unassailably large mandate.

“We can’t just win, we have to win overwhelmingly,” Mr. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, said. “So he can’t be in a position where he can put the phony challenges that he’s talking about.”

Later, delivering a speech while wearing a mask before a drive-in audience in Las Vegas, Mr. Biden ripped Mr. Trump for his behavior since he contracted the coronavirus.

“His reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis, the destabilizing effect it’s having on our government is unconscionable,” Mr. Biden said. “The longer Donald Trump is president the more reckless he gets.”

Earlier, to a group of Latino leaders, Mr. Biden warned about Mr. Trump’s broader attempts to sow mistrust ahead of an election that public polls show him trailing by making unfounded claims that mail-in voting is rife with fraud. Ballot glitches that have been reported so far have been overwhelmingly caused by incompetence or negligence that does not advantage either side.

Mr. Trump highlighted another on Friday, using his Twitter platform to point out that Franklin County, Ohio — a swing state — had sent voters nearly 50,000 incorrect absentee ballots. “A Rigged Election!!!” Mr. Trump wrote.

Mr. Biden pushed back on the broader effort. “He tried to continue to convince everybody there’s ways they can play with the vote and undermine the vote. They can’t,” he said. “If we show up, we win.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump’s campaign has started airing a television ad focused on his coronavirus infection, an attempt to reset the way voters view the president on a major issue in the election.

A majority of voters have a negative view of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus, according to public opinion polls. The spot seeks to use his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as evidence that he is on top of a virus he has repeatedly played down.

“President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America,” the ad’s narrator says. “Together, we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them lifesaving drugs in record time, sparing no expense. President Trump tackled the virus head-on, as leaders should.”

The ad then cuts to an interview with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci from the end of March, when the virus was just starting, saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.” Dr. Fauci, the country’s top epidemiologist, has tangled with the White House for much of the year over its coronavirus response.

The ad concludes: “We’ll get through this together. We’ll live carefully, but not afraid.”

Credit…Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The Biden campaign is releasing a new ad featuring Cindy McCain, widow of the long-serving Republican Senator John McCain, as Joseph R. Biden Jr. works to press his advantage with moderate voters and to appeal to Republican-leaning Americans who are disillusioned with President Trump.

“Joe Biden’s dedicated his life to this country and working across the aisle to get things done,” Ms. McCain says in the spot. “Joe will always fight for the American people, just like John did.”

The ad closes with an image of the two men — who were on opposing party tickets in 2008 — standing together.

The ad is set to air across Arizona — the McCains’ home state and a critical presidential battleground — starting on Saturday, and then nationwide on Fox News Sunday, 60 Minutes and during NFL football games on Sunday, the campaign announced.

Ms. McCain officially endorsed Mr. Biden late last month after a report in The Atlantic that Mr. Trump had referred to members of the military as “suckers” and “losers.” Mr. Trump had repeatedly disparaged her husband, speaking dismissively of his military service and time as a prisoner of war.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump is planning to host up to 2,000 people on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday for his first in-person event since he announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus, three people familiar with the plans said on Friday, and his campaign announced that he would hold a rally in Florida on Monday.

The president was expected to make remarks from one of the balconies at the White House to the crowd. More than 2,000 invitations went out for the event, according to one official.

The event, which was previously reported by ABC News, continues Mr. Trump’s pattern of using the White House for political events, as he did with his speech to the Republican National Convention in August.

Some in the White House and on the Trump campaign expressed concern that the event would serve to underscore existing criticism that Mr. Trump has been cavalier about a virus that has killed over 213,000 Americans.

The event will come just two weeks after a Rose Garden celebration of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, an event that White House officials are looking at as the possible source of an outbreak of the coronavirus that has infected Mr. Trump, the first lady and at least two dozen other people.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, told CBS News Radio on Friday that there had been “a super spreader event in the White House,” noting that people had crowded together there without wearing masks.

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who had attended the Rose Garden event and had huddled with the president and his close advisers during debate preparations, said in a tweet that he had been released from the hospital on Saturday morning, one week after testing positive for the coronavirus. Mr. Christie, who has a history of asthma, said last week that he had checked himself into Morristown Medical Center in consultation with his doctors.

One person familiar with the planning for the White House event said that all attendees would be required to bring and wear a mask, and that they would have to submit to a temperature check and a fill out a questionnaire.

Mr. Trump is also planning to hit the campaign trail again, even as outside medical experts caution that doing so could pose risks to himself and others: The campaign announced that he would deliver remarks at a “Make America Great Again” event at Orlando Sanford International Airport on Monday.

Attendees at the Florida event will be asked to sign a disclaimer stating that “you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19.”

After the president staged his acceptance speech on the South Lawn during the Republican National Convention in August, the president joked about the agitation he had caused among his critics about how he may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on the job, by using the White House grounds for political purposes.

He said he thought he would do it more.

Outside medical experts said that resuming public duties might worsen Mr. Trump’s condition, which could still deteriorate in the next several days. Covid-19 patients can take turns for the worse during the second week of illness.

Then there are the potential risks Mr. Trump could pose to others. According to C.D.C. guidelines, people with mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 most likely “remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset.”

Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, said on Thursday that Mr. Trump could safely “return to public engagements” on Saturday — a timeline that was questioned by outside experts.

Credit…Joshua Boucher/The State, via Associated Press

Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican whose embrace of President Trump threatens to sweep him from what was once a safe conservative seat, declared that Black people “can go anywhere in this state” as long as they are “conservative, not liberal,” during a candidate’s forum on Friday night.

The “go anywhere” remark came after Mr. Graham touted his friendship with the state’s other Republican senator, Tim Scott, who is Black — and after Mr. Graham said that a candidate of any color could succeed in South Carolina, provided the person shared the state’s “values.”

Friday’s event was supposed to be the second shared-stage debate, a much-anticipated showdown between Mr. Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, and his strong, well-funded Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, a state Democratic Party official, who is Black.

Instead, that format was scrapped at the last minute on Friday after Mr. Graham refused a request by his Democratic challenger to take a coronavirus test before their joint appearance, and Mr. Harrison refused to share the same space with him.

Instead of a debate on Friday, Mr. Graham and Mr. Harrison, who is tied or slightly trailing his opponent in recent polls, answered questions from a panel of moderators in back-to-back 30-minute sessions in Spartanburg that largely focused on the coronavirus pandemic and racial issues.

When the topic turned to the issue of police brutality, Mr. Graham said he backed some police reforms, opined that the officers who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis “should pay a price,” then claimed that the demonstrations that followed Mr. Floyd’s killing constituted “a war” on police.

Mr. Graham went on to say that he believed Black candidates, and those from immigrant communities, had a major role to play as long as they reflected “the values” of the state.

“Do I believe that South Carolina is a racist state? No,” Mr. Graham said.

“I am asking every African-American out there, look at my record,” he added, referring to his support of historically black colleges and universities. “I care about everybody, if you are a young African-American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”

It was not clear what Mr. Graham meant by his remarks. An email to a spokesman on Saturday was not immediately returned.

For his part, Mr. Harrison hammered away on Mr. Graham, calling him “out of touch” and accusing him of prioritizing the confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice over passing a stimulus bill.

On Thursday, Mr. Harrison, who has a pre-existing medical condition, said that he would not participate in a second debate with Mr. Graham unless everyone involved was tested. Mr. Graham had been in the proximity of at least two Republican senators who have tested positive for the coronavirus last week, and Mr. Harrison said he would not “allow politics to put my family, my campaign staff, Senator Graham’s staff, and members of the media at unnecessary risk.”

Democrats spent Friday speculating that Mr. Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was refusing to take a test because he was worried a positive result would imperil his ability to convene Supreme Court confirmation hearings set to begin on Monday.

“This election is not about just the virus,” Mr. Graham said on Friday night, echoing the comments of other endangered Republican opponents who are being dragged down by Mr. Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, said in a tweet on Saturday that he had been released from the hospital that morning, one week after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Mr. Christie is one of at least a dozen people who tested positive in the days after attending a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and had huddled with President Trump and his close advisers during debate preparations just days before Mr. Trump tested positive.

Mr. Christie, who is overweight and has a history of asthma, said last week that he had checked himself into Morristown Medical Center in consultation with his doctors.

“I am happy to let you know that this morning I was released from Morristown Medical Center,” he wrote on Twitter. “I want to thank the extraordinary doctors & nurses who cared for me the last week. Thanks to my family & friends fro their prayers.”

He ended his message with an intriguing pledge: “I will have more to say about all of this next week.”

Since the early days of the pandemic, the White House has regularly used rapid coronavirus tests to screen staff members and guests for the coronavirus because they are fast, portable and easy to operate.

These tests, however, frequently miss infections in people without symptoms. Nevertheless, those who tested negative would often skip other precautions, like wearing a mask or social distancing.

And while officials had given the impression that Mr. Trump was getting tested every day, the White House has since conceded that tests were not as frequent and has refused to reveal the last time Mr. Trump tested negative.

Guests at the reception for Judge Barrett were said to be tested. Part of the event was indoors, and photographs show few masks among the guests there, or later in the larger outdoor portion.

The president also huddled with advisers for maskless preparation sessions ahead of the first presidential debate on Sept. 29.

Several of those involved besides Mr. Christie have said they have since tested positive, including Kellyanne Conway, a former White House adviser; Hope Hicks, a current adviser; and Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager.

Credit…Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican closely allied to President Trump, is expected to appeal a federal court ruling on Friday that halted his plan to limit the number of drop boxes used to collect ballots to one per county — a move that could disenfranchise disabled, elderly and minority voters.

Judge Robert Pitman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama, granted a preliminary injunction, ruling that “the public interest is not served” by the governor’s order.

The plaintiffs, led by the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens, proved that Mr. Abbott’s executive order on Oct. 2 “likely violates their fundamental right to vote,” Judge Pitman said in his ruling.

The state is almost certain to appeal, Democratic and Republican officials said, throwing the fate of the electoral system in the nation’s second-largest state — a neck-and-neck presidential battleground won handily by Mr. Trump in 2016 — into limbo pending a resolution in the courts.

Several counties — including Harris County, home to the city of Houston, and Dallas County — had opened or planned to open satellite drop-off locations in addition to their central election offices.

The state’s decision to reduce options for voters to drop off their ballots comes as questions of voting rights, voter suppression and the integrity of the election have emerged as major issues in the 2020 campaign, and it follows disputes over drop boxes in other states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Courts are examining an order by the Ohio secretary of state that, like Mr. Abbott’s, would allow only one drop-off spot per county. In Pennsylvania, Republicans sought to ban drop boxes entirely, but a court rejected their challenge.

Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

The second Biden-Trump debate, originally scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, has been canceled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, according to a statement released on Friday by the group.

Organizers first shifted the debate to a virtual format, citing safety concerns about the coronavirus. Mr. Trump rejected that idea, saying he would not participate unless the debate was restored to its original, in-person format. Joseph R. Biden Jr. then committed to attending an ABC News town hall that evening in Philadelphia.

In a statement, Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign aide, said: “It’s shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions — but it’s no surprise. Everyone knows that Donald Trump likes to bully reporters, but obviously he doesn’t have the guts to answer for his record to voters at the same time as Vice President Biden.”

The commission reiterated its intentions on Friday to hold the final presidential debate on Oct. 22 in Nashville. The Trump campaign is on board. Mr. Biden’s campaign has agreed to participate, either as a one-on-one matchup with Mr. Trump, or in a town-hall-style format where both candidates take questions from voters.

The Trump campaign and officials at NBC News were negotiating plans for the president to appear at his own town hall on the network next week, likely on the night of Mr. Biden’s ABC event, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

The NBC event is likely to only occur if certain medical conditions are met, according to two people familiar with the conversations, including Mr. Trump testing negative for the coronavirus.

Aides to Mr. Trump claim that the debate commission changed the Miami event to a virtual format to aid Mr. Biden. Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., a co-chairman of the commission, said on Friday that was not the case. He said that officials at the Cleveland Clinic, which is advising on health protocols, believed a remote format was safest given Mr. Trump’s illness and the uncertainty about his health.

“Our crew, our cameramen, our lighting people, were very, very upset,” Mr. Fahrenkopf said in an interview with the Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade. “They were onstage with the president in Cleveland. He wasn’t wearing a mask. They’re upset, they’re concerned about their families.”

Mr. Kilmeade asked Mr. Fahrenkopf if the debate commission would consider an in-person debate in Miami next week if Mr. Trump had recovered by then. Mr. Fahrenkopf said that the president’s doctors were in contact with the Cleveland Clinic and that Mr. Trump’s condition remained in doubt.

“We’re talking about something that would happen in less than a week,” Mr. Fahrenkopf said of the Miami debate. “At this point and time, there is no evidence whatsoever whether or not the president tested negative.” He also said the commission could have difficulty finding voters “who aren’t afraid” to share a stage with Mr. Trump at a Miami town-hall event.

“We decided we’re going to do what’s safe,” he said.

On Friday, Mr. Trump tweeted an attack on the scheduled moderator of the Miami debate, Steve Scully of C-SPAN, calling him “a Never Trumper” and adding, “Fix!!!” There is no evidence that Mr. Scully is biased against the president.

Some supporters of Mr. Trump seized on a post that appeared overnight on Mr. Scully’s Twitter account, in which the moderator appeared to be communicating with Anthony Scaramucci, Mr. Trump’s former communications director and now a sharp critic of the president.

C-SPAN said in a statement that Mr. Scully “believes his account has been hacked” and that the debate commission “is investigating with the help of authorities.”

The moderator for the Oct. 22 debate in Nashville is Kristen Welker of NBC News.

Daily schedule

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

There are 24 days until Election Day. Here are the schedules of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates for Saturday, Oct. 10. All times are Eastern time.

President Trump

2 p.m.: Delivers remarks at a “peaceful protest for law & order” from the South Lawn of the White House.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Afternoon: Delivers remarks in Erie, Pa., on “building back the economy.”

Vice President Mike Pence

1:10 p.m.: Delivers remarks at a Latinos for Trump event in Orlando, Fla.

3:40 p.m.: Delivers remarks at a Make America Great Again rally at the Villages in Wildwood, Fla.

Senator Kamala Harris

T.B.D.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

When President Trump used the prime-time debate last week to urge his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully,” he wasn’t just issuing a call for a grass-roots movement or raising the prospect of intimidation tactics at voting sites. He was also nodding to an extensive behind-the-scenes effort led by the lawyers and operatives on his campaign.

Over the summer, Mr. Trump named a new campaign manager, Bill Stepien, who was once a top aide to former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey before being fired amid the “Bridgegate” scandal. Mr. Stepien swiftly elevated a group of lieutenants focused on using aggressive electoral tactics, moves that led Marc E. Elias, the leading election lawyer for the Democratic Party, to tweet that Mr. Trump was “tripling down” on “opposing voting rights.”

One of the main architects of the effort is Justin Clark, whom Mr. Stepien promoted to deputy campaign manager. He has been viewed with suspicion among Democrats since he was recorded last year saying, “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” and adding that in 2020 the party would “start playing offense a little bit.”

With polls showing Mr. Trump trailing Joseph R. Biden Jr. nationally and in most swing states, the president has increasingly focused attention on the voting process, declaring that the only way he could lose is if the election is rigged and refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. With the election less than a month away, his campaign has moved the idea of voting irregularities to the forefront of both its ground operations and its legal strategy.

The campaign is trying to shape the voting process in many ways. Following the president’s lead, it has undertaken a legal and rhetorical assault on mail-in balloting, claiming with no evidence that it is rife with fraud. It is also pushing the boundaries of traditional poll monitoring in ways that many Democrats believe amount to voter intimidation. And it has put legal pressure on states to aggressively purge their voter rolls.

Campaign officials tried to downplay Democratic anxiety and insisted they wanted everyone to vote who wants to do so.

“I think we need to just realize that we’re in a political campaign and all just follow the law,” Mr. Clark said in an interview. “There are laws everywhere about how many feet you can stand outside of a polling place and what you can wear and what you can do.”

Credit…Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

On Tuesday, and not for the first time, Joseph R. Biden Jr. described President Trump’s reluctant attitude toward wearing masks as “macho.”

Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator and Fox Nation host, countered that Mr. Biden “might as well carry a purse with that mask.”

They were among the most direct comments yet that have tied stereotypes about acting and appearing manly to the basic precautions that doctors, epidemiologists and other health experts recommend to prevent infection by the highly contagious and deadly coronavirus.

The theme has been there since the beginning of the pandemic. Some experts who study masculinity and public health say the perception that wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines are unmanly has carried a destructive cost. The virus has infected more men than women and killed far more of them.

The experts say the best public health practices have collided with several of the social demands men in many cultures are pressured to follow to assert their masculinity: displaying strength instead of weakness, showing a willingness to take risks, hiding their fear, appearing to be in control.

Men’s resistance to showing weakness — and their tendency to take risks — was demonstrated by scientists long before Covid-19. Studies have shown men are less likely than women to wear seatbelts and helmets, or to get flu shots. They’re more likely to speed or drive drunk. They are less likely to seek out medical care.

Some initial research indicates a similar pattern is playing out with the coronavirus. Surveys have found that women are more likely than men to wear masks in the United States. And recent polls have found men give higher marks to Mr. Trump than women on his handling of the pandemic.

“To admit you’re threatened is to appear weak, so you have to have this bravado,” said Peter Glick, a professor of social sciences at Lawrence University. If you wear a mask, he said, “the underlying message is: ‘I’m afraid of catching this disease.’”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump, in his first televised interview since he announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, said Friday night that he was “medication free” and back to normal, a week after he was hospitalized after having trouble breathing.

“I feel very strong,” he said.

In the interview with Dr. Marc Siegel on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, Mr. Trump claimed that he went to Walter National Reed Military Medical Center last Friday because he “didn’t feel strong.” But the president denied that he had experienced any trouble breathing, despite multiple people close to the White House saying in interviews that he had, in fact, had trouble breathing and that doctors had given him supplemental oxygen at the White House before his transfer to the hospital.

Mr. Trump said that there had been congestion in his lungs and he lauded his CT scans, which he called “amazing.” He also said he had been tested on the day of the interview — a White House official said that it had been filmed earlier Friday — and claimed to be “either at the bottom of the scale or free” of the virus. He added that he was being tested “every couple of days.”

Mr. Trump said that he didn’t know the results of his most recent Covid test.

Credit…Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Siriusxm

“I didn’t feel strong,” he told Dr. Siegel, a Fox News contributor who joked that he was conducting a telemedicine appointment free of charge. “I didn’t have a problem with breathing, which a lot of people seemed to have. I had none of that. I didn’t feel very vital. I didn’t feel like the president of the United States should feel.”

Mr. Trump repeated his claim that he wanted to give all Americans for free an experimental antibody cocktail from Regeneron, which he credits with his quick recovery. He did not explain how he would do that when the drug does not yet have government approval.

“You would have sort of a sore throat, but I felt really very good after taking this for a period of time,” he said. “It’s a transfusion, not a shot. I’d like to send it to everybody.”

Regeneron’s treatment is a combination of two powerful antibodies that are believed to boost the immune response to the virus.

Of the steroid he had taken, dexamethasone, Mr. Trump said he had “tolerated it very well.”

When asked where he thought he had contracted the virus, Mr. Trump used the passive voice and took no responsibility for the spread of the virus after the White House announcement of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court — a gathering that Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday qualified as a “super-spreader event.”

Mr. Trump said that as of eight hours before the taping, he was “medication free.”

On Friday, the White House declined to say whether Mr. Trump had been tested for the coronavirus and the White House physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, did not release a letter about the president’s health, as he had done earlier in the week.





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