2020-10-08 16:37:33 UTC
...amid fears COVID treatment is affecting his mental health
*Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would lead a discussion on Friday about invoking
the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office
*'Come here tomorrow,' she told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday. 'We're going
to be talking about the 25th Amendment'
*She refused to give any more details - a move that will likely stoke
speculation and build suspense over the next 24 hours
*She has raised concerns about Trump's mental state given meds he is on
*Trump announced Thursday he is cured from COVID in his first interview since
being diagnosed with the disease
*'I'm a perfect physical specimen and I'm extremely young. And so I'm lucky that
way,' he told Fox Business's Maria Bartiromo in a phone interview
*He said he was not taking a lot of medication
*'I think I'm taking almost nothing,' he said but added he's got 'a little bit
longer' on a steroid. 'It's not a heavy steroid'
*There have been concerns about the steroid's side affects
*He said he got the disease either at an event for his Supreme Court nominee or
at an event for Gold Star families - both held at White House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would lead a discussion on Friday about invoking
the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office amid fears the
medication he is taking for his COVID treatment are affecting his mental health.
'Come here tomorrow,' she told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday. 'We're going
to be talking about the 25th Amendment.'
She refused to give any more details - a move that will likely stoke speculation
and build suspense over the next 24 hours.
'I'll talk to you about that tomorrow,' she said when asked about it. 'I'll talk
to you about it tomorrow. I'm not talking about it today except to tell you if
you want to talk about that I'll see you tomorrow.'
She indicated, however, it was related to concerns about the steroid Trump is
taking. Some doctors have raised concerns about dexamethasone, which can cause
insomnia, mania, mood swings, and rage. It has shown promise for treating
patients with a severe case of covid-19 who are getting supplemental oxygen,
which Trump's doctors have said he has not received additional oxygen since he
went into the hospital on Friday night.
Pelosi has been sounding the alarm on Trump's mental state for the past few days
after he issued a surprising tweet on Tuesday calling off negotiations on a
COVID relief bill. His move crashed the stock market.
The speaker had been in talks with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on a new
deal with the tweet was issued. When the tweet hit the internet she was on a
conference call with Democratic lawmakers where she blamed Trump's medication
for his decision.
She's also questioned if Mnuchin was warned about the president's move.
'I almost wonder if Steve Mnuchin knew the president was going to do that,' she
Trump admitted in an interview with Fox Business on Thursday he is taking the
powerful steroid but he said called it a 'not heavy' drug.
'I think the public deserves to know the health condition of the President,'
Pelosi said during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.
'Mr President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested
positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact
about how this spread made a hotspot of the White House?' she added.
Congress, however, has a limited role in the 25th amendment, which gives
executive power to the vice president should the president become incapacitated.
A president can voluntarily hand over power on a temporary basis - George W.
Bush did when he was unconscious for a colonoscopy. But if Trump would refuse,
then Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet could force the
issue, and, if Trump objected to it, there would be a deciding vote by Congress.
Trump indicated to Fox Business that he was no longer taking medication to
combat the virus but then said he was going to take dexamethasone a little bit
longer. It is a powerful steroid given to those with COVID who have trouble
'I think I'm taking almost nothing. I think I'm finished with just about
everything,' Trump said of his medical regime.
Then he said he had 'a little bit longer' on the dexamethasone.
He added: 'I think you go a little bit longer on - they have a steroid. It's not
even, it's not a heavy steroid, yet they have that go a little bit longer, but
I'm not taking - I'm almost not taking anything, I feel great.'
'I'm almost not taking anything,' he said of the cocktail of medications his
medical team had him on. His treatment regime included the dexamethasone, an
experimental anti-viral drug that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is testing to supply
antibodies that help a patient fight the disease, and the antiviral drug
He said he would be tested for the virus again 'soon.'
'I'll be tested very soon but I'm essentially very clean. They say it's over a
period of six seven days,' he said.
He also announced he is cured from COVID.
'I'm ready to go except for the quarantine situation,' he told Fox Business's
Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning in a telephone interview. 'I don't think I'm
contagious at all.'
'Remember this: when you catch it you get better. And then you're immune,' he
He claimed to be healthy and raring to go at many points in the 55-minute
interview, in which he raged against Hillary Clinton and the investigations
against him, said he would not participate in the next debate since it's
virtual, and called Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris a
'I'm a perfect physical specimen and I'm extremely young. And so I'm lucky that
way,' said the president, who at 74 and overweight is in the high risk category
Trump, who returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon after being in the
hospital for four days recovering from the coronavirus, said he was ready to
hold a campaign rally.
'I'd love to do a rally tonight. I wanted to do one last night,' he said,
explaining he stands back from the crowd so it would be safe.
The president's voice sounded shaky at times in the interview, where he could be
heard but not seen.
Trump seemed to give two possibilities for how he contracted the deadly disease
- either at a Rose Garden event where he announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as
his Supreme Court nomination or a celebration for Gold Star families held at the
White House. Several people from both of those of those events have tested
positive for COVID.
'Now, as far as the White House is concerned, somebody got in,' he said when
asked how he caught the disease. 'It was a day of celebration with Notre Dame
etc etc and somebody got in and people got affected, whether it was there or
Barrett attended Notre Dame and the university's president, Rev. John Jenkins,
attended the announcement and later tested positive for COVID.
'I meet a lot of people and I have to - I'm the president of the country. I
can't hang around in a basement. So I figured there would be a chance that I
would catch it,' Trump said, using his attack line against Democratic rival Joe
Biden, who he complains stays in a basement even as Biden campaigns.
'Sometimes I'd be with in groups of - for instance Gold Star families I met
with,' he said referring to a September 27 at the White House. The chairmen of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several high-ranking military officials are
quarantining after attending it.
'I didn't want to cancel that,' Trump said.
He said the families - who have lost a member in service to the country - wanted
to hug and kiss him and he let them.
'They come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they
want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I'm not telling them, 'Back up,' he
said, conceding 'it's a dangerous thing, I guess, if you go by the COVID thing.'
He also appeared to cast doubt on wearing a face masks, which doctors said helps
contain the disease and slow the spread. He referred to Ralph Northam, the
Democratic governor of Virginia, who is a doctor who wore a face mask in public
and caught COVID.
'Look, you have the governor of Virginia - he wore a mask all the time - you've
never seen a guy without a mask - he catches it,' Trump said.
Trump has been reluctant to wear a mask in public. The White House has called
the decision a personal choice.
His interview marked a return to public life for the president.
On Wednesday, he tweeted out a video shot from the White House Rose Garden where
he says he has been 'cured' of COVID by the experimental drug Regeneron then
pitched the medication and promised to make it available to all Americans for
The president released the outdoor statement Wednesday evening, after being out
of sight for more than 24 hours after returning from Walter Reed Medical Center,
where he was checked in after testing positive for the coronavirus.
He called getting the disease a 'blessing from God.'
'I think this was a blessing from god that I caught it. This was a blessing in
disguise,' Trump said.
Trump went out to tout the experimental antibody cocktail Regeneron.
'I heard about this drug. I said let me take it. It was my suggestion,' he said.
Then he proclaimed himself 'cured' and said he wanted every American to get the
type of treatment he got.
Trump is just one of 10 people receiving the drug, which is still in the
experimental phase, and is intended to boost antibodies to fight the infection.
He's receiving a series of medications, including a steroid that critics and
some doctors have said could be making the president manic.
Trump kicked off the nearly-five minute video with an odd introduction that did
not state his name.
'Hi, perhaps you recognize me, it's your favorite president,' he said. It
appeared from the makeup he was wearing a liberal application of makeup on his
'And I'm standing in front of the Oval Office at the White House, which is
always an exciting place to be,' he continued.
'I got back a day ago from Walter Reed Medical Center, I spent four days there,
and didn't have to, I could have stayed at the White House but the doctors said
because you're president let's do it, I said fine,' Trump said.
The video was posted Wednesday. Trump returned to the White House from Walter
Reed Medical Center on Monday.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters at the White House the
video 'taken on the South Lawn earlier this afternoon' - indicating the
president was confused about what day it was when he spoke before the camera.
Trump made his first foray to the Oval Office since he came home from the
hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
His Democratic rival Joe Biden said the way Trump was dealing with COVID was a
'I'm going to think before I speak,' he told reporters in Wilmington where he
was asked about Trump calling his diagnosis a blessing from god. 'I think it's a
tragedy the president deals with COVID like it is something not to be worried
about when already 210,000 people have died.'
Trump, meanwhile, praised the medical staff who treated him.
'You tell me what to do and I'm going to do it. These are great professionals,'
Trump said. He also went on a tangent where he praised police and firefighters.
He then praised the experimental antibody cocktail from Regeneron he took,
calling it a 'cure.'
'But I spent four days there and I went in, I wasn't feeling so hot and within a
very short period of time they gave me Regeneron, it's called Regeneron, and
other things too, but I think this was the key. But they gave me Regeneron and
it was like unbelievable, I felt good immediately, I felt as good three days ago
as I do now. So I just want to say we have Regeneron, we have a very similar
drug from Eli Lilly. And they're coming out and we're trying to get them on an
emergency basis,' Trump said.
The White House physician also said Trump was put on oxygen, a steroid, and
'If you're in the hospital and you're feeling really bad I think we're going to
work it so you're going to get them and you're going to get them free,' he
promised. He said there were 'hundreds of thousands of doses almost ready,'
speaking after the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. has already topped
Then Trump turned to an attack on China, who he said would pay a 'big price' for
'And I'm going to make it free. You're not going to pay for it. It wasn't your
fault that this happened, it was China's fault. And China's going to pay a big
price what they've done to this country, China's going to pay a big price what
they've done to the world. This is China's fault and just remember that.'
'Our military is doing the distribution - it's called logistics - and they
deliver hundreds of thousands of troops in a matter of days, this is easy stuff
'And the drug companies have just made a lot of it,' he said.
The longtime promoter who has put his named on skyscrapers and marketed products
from a hit TV show less successful steaks and Trump-branded water told the
public: 'You're going to get better, you're going to get better fast, just like
I did. So again a blessing in disguise, good luck.'
Trump talked up the therapeutic medication and those in development then
appeared to walk back his optimistic pronouncements for the timing of a vaccine.
'But to me it wasn't therapeutic, it just made me better, I call that a cure.
But on the vaccines we have many companies that are in final stages on the
vaccine,' Trump said.
'I think we should have it before the election, but frankly the politics gets
involved, and that's OK they want to play their games, it's going to be right
after the election.'
'Some people don't know how to define therapeutic.'
'It's a cure. For me, I walked in, I didn't feel good, a short 24 hours later I
was feeling great, I wanted to get out of the hospital. And that's what I want
for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president
because I feel great, I feel like perfect. So I think this was a blessing from
God that I caught it.'
'This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said
let me take it, it was my suggestion. Let me take it and it was incredible the
way it worked. Incredible. I think if I didn't catch it we'd be looking at that
like a number of other drugs. But it really did a fantastic job. I want to get
for you what I got.'
Presumably he was filmed by a White House videographer on the grounds of the
White House. The video came soon after it was revealed that Trump returned to
the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon despite being contagious from the
coronavirus, the state of his health uncertain and several aides fighting the
Meadows was with Trump in the presidential office suite in the West Wing of the
White House - the area where all the president's staff work - as was Deputy
Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, the White House said. Both men were wearing
protective gear and a table with PPE is set up outside the West Wing.
'I'm on PPE anytime any time I get close,' Meadows told reporters, adding
Scavino was wearing it too.
A nurse was on duty outside the Oval Office, The New York Times reported, citing
a source. Additionally, a cleaning crew was seen entering the West Wing shortly
after the report of Trump's arrival back in his office.
The White House announced six days ago Trump tested positive for the disease. He
left the hospital two days ago.
While the president has been eager to get back to work, his fury of tweets and
his decision to end talks on a coronavirus relief package - announced in a tweet
that sent the stock market tumbling Tuesday - have led to questions about his
The president taking the steroid dexamethasone as part of his treatment for
coronavirus. The steroid is known to have side effects that can affect the brain
and thought processes. Doctors also warned that dexamethasone comes with risks
of serious side effects, including mood swings, aggression and confusion.
He has been trying to project a picture of health after his diagnosis and as he
trails Biden in the polls with Election Day less than six weeks away.
Biden wouldn't comment on Trump's mental health.
'I have no idea and I'd never comment on the president's mental health,' he said
when asked whether the medications Trump was on was affecting the president's
mental state. 'I'm not qualified to comment on that.'
Meadows told Fox News the president was in the Oval Office most of Wednesday
'He's telling me privately, he feels better than he did 20 years ago,' Meadows
Trump went into the Oval via the colonnade, which is the outdoor walkway that
leads from the residence, around the Rose Garden and to the outer doors of the
West Wing. That kept him away from West Wing hallways where staff work in
cramped, crowded offices.
He was briefed on the stimulus talks and Hurricane Delta, the White House
announced. Trump tweeted he spoke with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Louisiana
Gov. John Bel Edwards about the hurricane headed to their coast and urged people
to listen to FEMA.
'Was just briefed on Hurricane Delta, and spoke with @GovAbbott of Texas and
@LouisianaGov John Bel Edwards. Please heed the directions of your State and
Local Officials. We are working with them very closely please be prepared, be
careful, and be safe!,' he wrote.
A Marine guard appeared in front of the West Wing Wednesday afternoon, giving a
clue as to what was going on in the building behind him. A Marine is present
when the president is in the Oval Office.