(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump will remain at the White House this weekend, people familiar with the matter said, after he said he wanted to hold rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania despite questions over the stage of his recovery from Covid-19.
Trump, who told Fox’s Sean Hannity late Thursday that he wanted to hold rallies Saturday and Sunday, won’t travel until Monday at the earliest, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Trump has been eager to return to the campaign trail as Democratic nominee Joe Biden widens his lead just weeks before the Nov. 3 election. Trump has released recorded video messages saying he’s well, and his physician said in a statement Wednesday that the president had been free of symptoms for the previous 24 hours.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump “will be clear to go” on Saturday, when “he wants to talk to the American people.” There are medical tests underway to ensure he doesn’t transmit the virus when he returns to the campaign trail, she said on Fox News, adding that she’d conferred with White House doctor Sean Conley.
Trump’s filling the void of not hitting the campaign trail by doing a series of lengthy interviews with conservative talk shows. He spent two hours in a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh on Friday afternoon. The president’s campaign billed it as “the largest virtual rally in radio history.”
The president is later scheduled to appear on conservative radio host Mark Levin’s show and later Tucker Carlson’s Fox News television show.
Trump sounded congested, but didn’t clear his throat or otherwise exhibit any trouble breathing during the course of his interview with Limbaugh. He acknowledged that he’d dealt with some “lingering” effects following his bout with the virus. He said his voice “is now perfect.”
The president said that he’d met with 11 doctors at the White House earlier on Friday, and they said he could have faced dire circumstances from the highly contagious disease that’s killed more than 213,000 Americans. The coronavirus is particularly lethal for the elderly and overweight.
“I said, ‘How bad was I?’” Trump, 74, said. “They said you could have been very bad. You were going into a very bad phase.” He added: “This looks like it was going to be a big deal.”
(Updates with Trump interviews starting in fifth paragraph.)
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