Oct 10, 2020

Donald Trump Tucker Carlson Interview Transcript: First On-Camera Interview Since COVID Diagnosis

Donald Trump Tucker Carlson Interview October 9
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Donald Trump joined Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News for his first on-camera interview since Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus. Read the full transcript of the October 9 interview.

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Tucker Carlson: (00:00)
The president tested positive for the coronavirus late last week, since then his public events have been canceled, he’s not participated in any interviews on camera. Now the president’s physician says he has completed his course of therapy for the virus and can return to public engagements as soon as tomorrow. By any measure, it’s been a remarkable turnaround. On Saturday, we were hearing rumors that the president was very sick. On Monday, he seemed essentially himself. How’d that happen? Well, to learn more about the process of the president’s recovery, our own Dr. Marc Siegel spoke to Donald Trump today. It was, as we said, his first time talking on camera about what happened. We should know that these are very unusual circumstances. Normally we’d send our own camera crew into the white house to interview the president. But because his diagnosis was just a week ago, we had to rely on the white house camera team for that interview. Dr. Siegel interviewed the president from New York. Here it is.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (00:54)
President Trump, welcome. This is not officially a tele visit though, as you probably realize I’ve done hundreds, but I hope you’ll indulge me and let you be the patient. And I’ll be the doctor here. And I promise you no copay.

Donald Trump: (01:06)
Okay.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (01:07)
Okay?

Donald Trump: (01:08)
Sounds good to me, Marc.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (01:09)
So the first question is what we call the chief complaint, which is briefly, how are you feeling now?

Donald Trump: (01:16)
I feel really good. I feel very strong. I know a lot of people that have had the COVID or the China viruses I call it because it came from China, but I feel really, really strong. And a lot of people don’t feel that way sometimes for a while afterwards, but very good.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (01:34)
What about symptoms that you had last Friday? Like when you went into Walter Reed, what were the two most prominent symptoms that you had?

Donald Trump: (01:41)
I think 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, 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, and I knew there was something a little bit off. And the doctors at Walter Reed were incredible. They came from Johns Hopkins. They came from everywhere. It’s good to be president, I guess, but they were really great people, but I would say more weakness than anything else Marc.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (02:12)
Mr. President, I got to tell you something confidentially. My patients never listened to me no matter how hard I try, they don’t do what I say half the time. Did that occur to you where the doctors were telling you something and you were negotiating with them or did you just do what they said?

Donald Trump: (02:25)
I did negotiate, but ultimately I have a lot of respect for these doctors. They’re really the best doctors, I think in the world and Walter Reed, I’ve seen the work they do in the military and people coming in so badly injured like you’ve never seen before. I have a lot of respect, so I really tended to listen, but generally, maybe I wouldn’t, but I did tend to listen to this group.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (02:48)
When you were in the hospital, what was bothering you the most? What were you feeling?

Donald Trump: (02:52)
I just think that you were tired. It was just getting to you from the stand point you didn’t have that same energy level. And my life is based a little bit on energy and you didn’t have it. And I don’t know, it could have led to bad things from that point. I don’t know, but I got lucky, I think with a certain medicine, but it really was something. I took a certain medicine that was very miraculous to me. I think I really don’t believe it’s just in the head either. I really believe it worked.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (03:28)
Were you scared? Were you frightened?

Donald Trump: (03:31)
Well, I took the Regeneron and Eli Lilly makes a very similar medicine, but you have Regeneron, you have the Eli Lilly version of it. And within a period of 24 hours, I felt very different. I think I could have left the hospital a lot earlier, but it made a tremendous difference Marc, and markedly so, and I just felt very good. You would have sort of a sore throat just to add to what we were saying, but I felt really very, very good after taking this for a period of time, it’s a transfusion, not a shot. And I’d like to send it to everybody. In fact, I’ve said, I’m going to send it to everybody that’s got the problem and we’re going to send it free of charge, including seniors, of course, but we’re going to send it to everybody.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (04:26)
Did you want to leave the hospital earlier than they said?

Donald Trump: (04:29)
I did.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (04:29)
Mr. President?

Donald Trump: (04:31)
They wanted to keep me for observation. They wanted to be sure it was good, but I did. I was there for, I guess three and a half days. They wanted to keep me, I wanted to leave after the first day, I really felt I was in not bad shape after the first day. I think I would have been a much worse shape had I not taken this medication.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (04:50)
How long did they want to keep you? The doctors?

Donald Trump: (04:53)
I don’t know exactly, but they kept me for the time I stayed for the time that they needed me. And they’ve done a lot of tests. They’ve done tremendous testing. And right now I’m medication free. I’m not taking any medications as of probably eight hours ago or so, I’m medication free, which frankly makes me feel good. I don’t like medication.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (05:17)
Mr. President, if you would feel comfortable. Can you tell me a little bit about the tests you had in the hospital? Did you have a CAT scan? What did that show?

Donald Trump: (05:24)
Yeah, they tested the lungs. They have incredible equipment at Walter Reed. In fact, they said, no, you could leave your jacket on. That’s the first that’s ever happened. Leave your shirt on, leave your jacket on. I said, “I’ll take it off anyway, if you want.” But literally, they tested the lungs, they checked for the lungs and they tested it with different machinery. They have incredible stuff that I’ve never even seen before. And it tested good. Initially, I think they had some congestion in there, but ultimately it tested good and with each day it got better. And I think that’s why they wanted me to stay, frankly, but the CAT scans were amazing. The equipment was incredible. I’ve never seen equipment like this before.

Tucker Carlson: (06:08)
Well, we learned this afternoon, that the next presidential debate, which had been scheduled for October 15th next week has now been canceled. Dr. Siegel spoke with the president about the issues surrounding that debate just before the news broke that it won’t happen at all. He also asked the president about his car ride outside Walter Reed, the one the media told you endangered his staff. Interesting. Here’s more of Dr. Siegel’s interview with the president.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (06:33)
Could you talk to me about when you went outside Walter Reed and PPE and the drive that you took and well-wishers, and what you were thinking when you did that?

Donald Trump: (06:42)
Well, I had tremendous numbers of people, I could hear them from the hospital and I was way up high in this very fortified military hospital that’s built to the highest standard. And yet through these very powerful windows, I could hear people screaming and shouting and with love, with real love. And after two days, I said, “I want to go out and say hello to the people.” And I went to secret service, and these are the people that are with me all the time. And they said, “We have no problem, sir.” I said, “I just want to take a drive by them and just wave.”

Donald Trump: (07:13)
And you saw what happened. It was a great display of love out there. I don’t think there was one negative person and there were many, many, many people, but I don’t think there was anybody negative out there. They went crazy when they saw the car go by. And the people in were protected, they were very heavily protected because at that time, I guess I would have been positive, but they were very, very protected. And they’ve been with me for a long time and they understand, but they also thought it was very important. I thought it was very important to show my affection for them. They were standing out there 24 hours a day, you saw that. I mean, every time you’d be on television, you see them in the background.

Donald Trump: (07:58)
And I just thought, I love the people, I love the people of this country. And I thought it would have been very disrespectful if I was there for three and a half days. And these people are there standing late at night, early in the morning and I didn’t go out and at least give them a little wave. And that’s what I did, and I’m very glad I did it.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (08:20)
Mr. President lessons learned from this, from your own illness that you would apply to stewarding the ship forward in the fight in the pandemic and how you can apply it to other people that have COVID-19 and how to prevent getting COVID-19, lessons learned?

Donald Trump: (08:37)
It’s such a great question. I think the biggest thing is that I did do it early. Now, I have such great access to medical. We have a white house doctor, who’s great. And you have so many great doctors. So it’s a lot easier for me than somebody that doesn’t have access to a doctor so easily where it’s a big deal to see a doctor, but here we have them all over the white house, frankly, they’re watching every corner. But I think very important for me was very early, as soon as I felt something and I’m thinking about it because I see what’s going on and a lot of people are around me, even though there’s tremendous testing, but a lot of people are around me.

Donald Trump: (09:14)
So I think about it and I know there’s a danger, but I can’t be somebody that goes into a basement and just hides in a basement for the rest of my life. I’m running a country, the greatest country in the world. So what I think the big secret for me was I got there very early and I think it would have gotten a lot worse. One of the doctors said he thought it would have gotten a lot worse. I just think that even these medications, there are lot better if you get them early than if you get them late, it will react probably better. So I think going in early is a big factor in my case.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (09:53)
Dexamethasone, I’ve given it to a lot of patients. I’ve given steroids to a lot of patients. Many have tolerated it well, sometimes there’s issues with anxiety or behavioral issues. Did you have any problem with that?

Donald Trump: (10:05)
No, I didn’t even know I had it. I didn’t know what it was. It’s a form of a steroid, but it keeps the swelling down of the lungs as I understand it. And I tolerated it very well. I don’t take it anymore, but it was a pretty short term during the course of the medicine, that was one of the medicines and no, I think I tolerated it very well, Marc, and it keeps the swelling down. And that’s important.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (10:33)
What are you taking right now as of today?

Donald Trump: (10:35)
I think really nothing. We pretty much finished and now we’ll see how things go, but pretty much nothing. We had our final doses of just about everything. Actually, the original transfusion that’s supposed to last for about four months, the antibodies, and I think you’re supposed to be protected anywhere from two to four months. And maybe longer than that, I don’t know.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (10:59)
Are you going to donate your own plasma Mr. President?

Donald Trump: (11:02)
Well, I will. Nobody’s asked me that question actually, but I will. If they want me to do it, I’d love to do it.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (11:09)
Are you tested? I heard you said you were going to test again today. Have you been retested?

Donald Trump: (11:15)
I have been retested and I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet, but I’ve been retested and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (11:25)
When is your next test going to be?

Donald Trump: (11:26)
I don’t know. Probably tomorrow, Marc. They test every couple of days, I guess, but it’s really at a level now, that’s been great to see it disappear.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (11:36)
So I have a question and this is my own fantasy, Mr. President, all of this back and forth controversy about the next debate. And if you test negative and you’ve said you want it to be in person, how would you feel about a debate outside on Miami Beach?

Donald Trump: (11:52)
Well, I’d have no trouble with it at all. In fact, where we have rallies outside, we’ve had no problem whatsoever. Outside is better than inside as you know with this crazy thing that’s going on. But I would have no problem with it. But we’ve always had a problem with this commission. This commission has been ridiculous, frankly, but who wants to do a debate on a computer? I don’t. Virtual debate no, you got to be there. We degraded the last debate. You have to be there. You have to see the person, you can’t do it on a computer. Besides that, Joe has a tendency to get the answers and read them off a computer for when he’s asked questions. So I would love to do it outside would be fine as far as I’m concerned.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (12:34)
Where do you think you got the virus? At what point do you think you contracted it looking back?

Donald Trump: (12:39)
I don’t know. They had some big events at the white house and perhaps there, I don’t really know. Nobody really knows for sure. 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, and generally you get better from it, but we also now have medicines that will help a lot. And if you look at mortality rate, I think it’s up 95 or 85%. Marc, I think you’ve seen that you pointed it out to me. What we’re doing now with the medicines and all of the things is incredible, but especially younger people, I wished they open schools, I hope they opened schools. Some of the States are closed and the cure is worse than the problem itself in many cases, it’s a terrible thing.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (13:30)
Mr. President a final message from you to America about what they can learn from your illness and your recovery which many would say is inspiring. A final message.

Donald Trump: (13:41)
I just have such great respect for the doctors and lab scientists, the people that work on this, they’re doing incredibly well. I have incredible respect and love for the families that have suffered so badly. This is something that came to us out of… I don’t know, I won’t be able to tell you yet. Maybe at some point I’ll be able to report exactly why it came to us, but it came out of China. It shouldn’t have happened. They should have never let it happen, but they suffered plenty also far more than people understand, but this is something that should not have been allowed this to come out to the world, not only to the United States to the world.

Donald Trump: (14:20)
But I have such respect for the people that have suffered and my sympathies to those families that have been so horribly hurt and just horribly hurt. And again, the respect for the doctors and for the technicians and for the scientists is incredible because I’ve seen what they’ve done. And it’s incredible the job that they’ve done in a short period of time, over a six month period the job that they’ve done is incredible. And you’ll see that very soon with the medicines and with the vaccines.

Dr. Marc Siegel: (14:53)
Mr. President. I really appreciate that last answer and the interview. And I want to tell you how much it means to us that you appeared for your first on-camera interview tonight on Tucker Carlson tonight. Thank you so much for joining me.

Donald Trump: (15:04)
Well, thank you very much, Marc. It’s my great honor. Thank you.