Donald Trump returned to the White House on Monday, October 5, following a three-day stay at Walter Reed Military Medical Center after testing positive for coronavirus. In an interview Thursday, his voice was hoarse and he had to stop and clear his throat.
The president hasn’t been seen in public since he gave a salute and two thumbs up from the balcony on Monday. On Thursday, Trump made his first call into Fox News since his hospitalization, and while speaking with Sean Hannity, his voice sounded hoarse. At one point in the conversation, it ‘gave out’ entirely, Vox journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted. Trump, 74, was talking about “oscillating” his mic during his debates with Hillary Clinton in 2016 when his voice grew increasingly hoarse and he had to pause to clear his throat.
During the conversation, Trump refused to answer when he last tested positive for COVID-19 but said he planned on attending his scheduled rally in Florida on Saturday night, along with Sunday night’s rally in Pennsylvania. “I feel so good,” Trump told Hannity. But he again struggled not to cough while discussing absentee ballots.
On Thursday, the president’s physician Sean P. Conley put out a statement that Trump “has completed his course of therapy for COVID-19,” and that he will be able to “return to public engagements” on Saturday.
“Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements at that time,” Conley’s memo concluded.
The CDC states that people infected with COVID-19 need to wait 10 days after their symptoms first appeared, be fever-free for 24 hours with no medication and show improvement in symptoms before safely being around other people.
MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes remains wary of Conley’s reports. After hearing Trump’s call with Hannity, he tweeted, “I don’t think at this point there is any reason to give face value credence to the White House or president’s doctors’ pronouncements about either the timeline of his illness or his current status.”
Trump Appeared to Have Trouble Breathing Outside the White House, Causing Speculation About the President’s Health
Trump was discharged from the hospital on Monday. He tweeted, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. … I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
The president also said his illness would not derail his campaign efforts. He tweeted, “Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!! The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.”
Aside from concern for the safety and wellbeing of White House staffers with Trump’s return, Twitter users commented on how Trump appeared to have trouble breathing after removing his mask. One person tweeted, “Closeup video of trump on the balcony clearly shows that he is still having difficulty breathing.”
Numerous people on Twitter commented on Trump’s breathing after he walked up the White House steps. One person tweeted, “I know what it’s like not to be able to breath. More asthma attacks than I can count. When I watch the tape of Trump getting back to the White House…I am willing to bet he is still having breathing issues & will be back at Walter Reed shortly. Can’t believe a word he says.”
‘Where Is Trump’ Started Trending on Twitter Amid His Absence
On October 7, The Lincoln Project, a group of former Republicans who oppose Trump, fueled speculation on the president’s whereabouts with the hashtag “#WhereIsTrump,” which immediately went viral with users online sharing their personal thoughts on his two-day absence, which has now been extended to four days.
While the president shared another pre-taped video on October 7, it was not a live media appearance. CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale pointed out on Twitter that Trump had no public events scheduled for October 8, which is notable since the election is only 30 days away.
The Lincoln Project’s official account tweeted out to their 2.4 million followers, “Trump hasn’t been seen on camera for 44 hours. Where is the president? We need 5000 people to respond to this tweet with #WhereIsTrump. Come out of the basement, Donald.”
While Trump has remained extremely active on Twitter, after The Lincoln Project’s tweet, users online speculated that Trump must be attempting to hide the severity of his COVID-19 symptoms from the public, despite positive reports from the president’s physician Dr. Sean Conley.