“Man, woman, person, camera, TV.”
The last time President Donald Trump appeared on TV with Dr. Marc Siegel, he managed to impress the Fox News medical contributor by successfully listing off those five words in the same order, twice in a row.
Now, with many unanswered questions swirling about his health following an abrupt hospitalization for COVID-19 just one week ago, Trump has turned again to Dr. Siegel in a deeply bizarre, made-for-reality TV on-air “medical evaluation” on Tucker Carlson’s show Friday night.
“By any measure, it’s been a remarkable turnaround,” Carlson insisted of Trump’s apparent recovery, before revealing that the White House camera team—and not Fox News—were the ones filming Trump remotely (and therefore presumably had some control over the edit).
Siegel, the same doctor who irresponsibly speculated that former Vice President Joe Biden might be on “speed” or “Adderall” ahead of the first presidential debate and later downplayed the severity of Trump’s diagnosis, began his exam by asking, “How are you feeling now?”
Trump said he’s feeling “really, really strong,” unlike other people who have contracted the “China virus,” as he likes to call it. He insisted that he had no problems breathing, despite reports that his oxygen levels fell dangerously low at times. The president also admitted to some “congestion” in his lungs detected during a CAT scan, which is more than his personal doctor was willing to reveal to reporters earlier in the week.
As of Friday morning, Trump claimed he was no longer taking any medications, but he again promised, without basis, that he would be sending the “Regeneron” treatment he received to any American who needs it “free of charge.”
Later, Dr. Siegel gave the president an opportunity to defend the joyride he took with Secret Service agents during his hospital stay so that he could see his supporters who had gathered outside Walter Reed. “They went crazy when they saw the car go by,” Trump boasted, saying it would have been “disrespectful” not to “give them a little wave.”
When the doctor asked the president what “lessons” he’s learned from his experience, Trump exhibited a brief flash of self-awareness. “It’s a lot easier for me than someone who doesn’t have access to a doctor so easily.” But moments later, he was again talking about how he’s too important to simply hide in his basement.
“The big secret for me was I got there very early,” Trump added, saying he thinks his condition “would have gotten a lot worse” if he had waited to go to the hospital.
Asked where he thinks he contracted the virus, Trump said, “I don't know, they had some big events at the White House. Perhaps there. I don't really know. Nobody really knows. Numerous people have contracted it.”
“One thing you learned is this is a contagious disease,” Trump said matter-of-factly, before dangerously warning that “the cure is worse than the problem itself, it’s a terrible thing.”
The one big question not asked nor answered during Trump’s first on-camera interview since contracting the coronavirus, of course, is when he received his last negative test before his first positive test.
White House spokespeople as well as the president’s doctors have continually refused to answer that question over the past week and Trump’s propagandistic attempt at “full transparency” did nothing to clear up the deep-seated confusion and mistrust.
In fact, Trump would not even divulge much information about his most recent test. “I have been retested and I haven’t even found out numbers are anything yet,” he said. “But I’ve been retested and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.”