On Friday, President Donald Trump appeared on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight for his first televised interview since contracting COVID-19. The president spoke to Fox News contributor Marc Siegel — a New York-based doctor who is not on the president's medical team. While Trump spoke optimistically about his condition, critics argued that many vital questions were missed.
Trump declined to answer whether he had tested negative for the coronavirus yet, saying only: "I'm either at the bottom of the scale or free." Meanwhile, the president flatly denied that he received supplemental oxygen therapy last week, contradicting White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, and he claimed that it was his choice to go to Walter Reed Military Medical Center. However, Trump also said that he has been listening to his doctors' advice throughout his illness, suggesting that doctors approved his controversial moves such as his motorcade ride, returning to the White House prematurely and even his rally scheduled for Saturday.
Trump did reveal that he had a CT scan of his chest, saying that doctors found "some congestion" but "it tested good." He did not say whether the scan found any lung damage — a common affliction with COVID-19 — and Seigel did not ask. Seigel also didn't ask about the viral footage of Trump gasping for air upon his return to the White House, but Trump seemed to allude to it in the interview.
"I didn't feel strong, I didn't have a problem with breathing, which a lot of people seem to have. I had none of that," Trump said. "But I didn't feel very strong, I didn't feel very vital, I didn't feel like the president of the U.S. should feel."
Trump acknowledged that he likely contracted the coronavirus at one of the recent White House events where no preventative measures were observed, including masks and social distancing. He also suggested that he only just now learned that COVID-19 is "highly contagious."
"They had some big events at the White House. Perhaps there. I don't really know, nobody really knows for sure," Trump told Siegel. "Numerous people have contracted it, but people have contracted it all over the world — it's highly contagious. That's one thing you learn; this is a contagious disease."
Trump continues to take criticism from public figures, medical professionals and other politicians for down-playing the coronavirus pandemic and encouraging others to do the same. Although Conley has signed off on Saturday's rally, other public health experts say that it is a bad idea, especially since Trump is likely still sick, and possibly still contagious.