Politics

Trump itching to get back to campaign trail, but he and White House evasive on health questions

During a friendly Thursday night interview with a political ally, Fox News commentator Sean Hannity, Trump ignored questions about whether he had been tested recently or had tested negative for COVID-19.

“Well, what we’re doing is, probably the test will be tomorrow, the actual test, because there’s no reason to test all the time,” Trump said, referring to Friday. “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.”

The president said during the same interview that he hoped to get back out on the campaign trail as soon as Saturday and Sunday — he floated Florida and Pennsylvania as possibly locales for rallies.

But on Friday morning, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany indicated that Trump might not actually travel as soon as Saturday.

“Logistically whether tomorrow is possible, it would be tough, it would be a decision for the campaign,” she said during an interview with Fox News.

The president’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a memorandum released by the White House late Thursday that he anticipated Trump could make a “safe return to public engagements” as soon as Saturday, which he said would mark “day 10” since Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

He did not say how the White House would determine the president was no longer contagious, and when McEnany was asked, she deferred to Trump’s doctors.

On Thursday night, Trump paused his interview with Hannity twice to clear his throat, apparently coughing, a potential symptom of the coronavirus.

On Friday afternoon, he dismissed any concerns. “There’s always that lingering thing for a couple of days,” Trump told another ally, Rush Limbaugh, during a radio interview billed as a “radio rally.” “It’s called the lingering thing.”

The president’s doctors have not held a news conference since Monday, when the president was still hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the daily memorandums from Conley the White House has released since then have been sparse on details.

The White House on Friday morning declined to comment if the president’s doctors would provide an update today in any capacity. It also declined to say if the president was still scheduled to receive a COVID-19 test today as he alluded to on Thursday night — and if so, whether the White House would make the results public.

Conley and various White House officials have for the past week also refused to provide a major detail key to the public’s understanding of when Trump first contracted the virus and when he became contagious: when exactly he last tested negative prior to receiving his first positive test. The White House said he first tested positive Thursday.

That information could help determine who he exposed to the virus and the severity of his illness and answer the question of whether he was potentially contagious on Tuesday night during his presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Both Biden and Trump’s campaigns certified to debate organizers that the candidates and everyone who traveled with them to the debate in Cleveland tested negative within 72 hours of the debate. But the White House has since declined to confirm when and how Trump was tested before the debate.

“I don’t want to go backwards,” Conley said when asked on Monday when the president’s last negative test was before he received positive results. On Wednesday, White House deputy Brian Morgenstern told reporters, “We’re not asking to go back through a bunch of records and look backwards.”

In a Friday interview with MSNBC, Morgenstern cited the president’s right to privacy to defend the White House not sharing that information. Trump, though, could choose to release that information himself — or permit his doctors or the White House to do so on his behalf.

ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps, Benjamin Siegel and Elizabeth Thomas contributed to this report.

Source:

abcnews.go.com

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