Spicer: Trump campaign ‘will move forward’ while president in hospital
This is a rush transcript from “The Story with Martha MacCallum” October 2, 2020. This
This is a rush transcript from “The Story with Martha MacCallum” October 2, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I’m Martha MacCallum. And tonight, this is “The Story” in America.
That was what we all watched together just moments ago, a site that you don’t see very often, the President of the United States, leaving the White House and heading to the hospital. He’ll check in there for a few days. The president boarded Marine One bound for Walter Reed Medical Center, one of the finest medical facilities in the world. The White House says that this action is out of an abundance of caution.
The first lady did not accompany him. She is also COVID positive and is said to have a mild cough and a headache. We, obviously, send all of our well wishes to them, and to all of their entire family.
So then we watched after we saw this lift off, taking off on a beautiful night, early October, and then the president landed at Walter Reed Medical Center. Walked down the steps of Marine One and boarded the SUVs in the caravan in the motorcade, I should say, and headed over to the hospital.
Before he did that, though, he video tweeted out, as he is – want to do this personal message to America. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I’m doing very well. But we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well. So, thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Those comments from the president from the White House just before he left. In moments, we’re going to talk to Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary. But first to Kristin Fisher, who is at Walter Reed Medical Center. She covered this live for us throughout this afternoon. Kristin, it is just unbelievable, the sequence of events that we have seen since just a couple of nights ago, watching that debate on stage at Cleveland and now the president checking in to Walter Reed.
KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It really has been just an incredible 24 hours or so. And I just want to set the scene of what it was like when Marine One touchdown here just a few minutes ago.
You could hear Marine One getting close, you could hear the chopper. Then you could start to see it. And just a few minutes before that happened, the Secret Service and the police they shut down this street behind me. And at that moment, there were about 50 to 100 people that had been gathered here
– members of the media, just some people who really wanted to see what was going on.
And when this street shut down, they rushed across the street to the fence right behind me so that they could see President Trump step off Marine One and walk in to Walter Reed. It was a very quiet moment. You would think that with so many people here there would have been a lot of noise, but it was it was very quiet. It was very surreal. And now President Trump is inside the nation’s premier military hospital.
You oftentimes hear about Walter Reed in the news when a president comes here to spend some time with wounded troops. This is where a lot of them come and spend some time after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and other war zones around the world. And now President Trump is going to be staying here, not just for a few hours, he is going to be staying here for the next few days.
And Martha, he’s not just going to be staying in a small hotel room like you were I would be staying in. He has an entire suite – this massive, secure complex inside Walter Reed that was made precisely for moments like this. It hasn’t been used very much. We know that. President Ronald Reagan actually stayed here at Walter Reed overnight back in 1989, after a minor surgery. So it hasn’t been used a ton, but it is going to be used for President Trump over the next few days.
There are places for him to sleep, eat, work, rest, receive treatment.
There’s also some office spaces for members of his senior aides to work as well. We saw the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows stepping off and getting on to Marine One wearing an N95 mask, just a sign of how serious the White House top aides are really now taking this and the President himself.
And, you know, moments ago we got that tweet that the White House pulled out of President Trump actually speaking. He may have sounded a little bit hoarse, may be looked a little bit tired, but he looked OK and that is the image that Americans and people all over the world have been waiting to see ever since he tested positive last night, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Kristin one more question for you. When you saw him walk out of the White House, generally, that’s the moment that all reporters have become so used to. He always walks over and starts parrying a bit with the press as they stand there, not the scene that we saw tonight. He got right on the helicopter, understandably so. But what was the mood among the reporters, as you witnessed all of this together out there?
FISHER: You know, I think everybody was just trying to be respectful of the gravity of the moment. Standing alongside me are about 15-20 members of the White House press corps, members of the local DC media as well. And, from the debate, to the President’s positive diagnosis, to not hearing, not seeing him all day long, of course, there was a great deal of concern about his health.
I mean, this is President Trump. This is a man who loves to tweet quite frequently. He is always in front of the cameras, and he always has such a high level of energy. And so for him to come out with that tweet last night saying that he had tested positive and to not see or hear from him all day long. A lot of people, of course, really, really worried about him.
And I think members of the White House press corps, members of the media out here are really, just we’re trying to be respectful of the history that we are witnessing here tonight. The President of the United States testing positive for this deadly virus that has taken the lives of so many Americans, so many people all over the world.
And now coming here – and I just want to stress this Martha – coming here strictly out of an abundance of caution, according to the White House. We all know how quickly this virus can cause people to go into – go from being quite well to being in a very serious way with this virus. And, of course, everybody is hoping that that is not going to come anywhere close to happening to President Trump. A very clear, they wanted him to be here tonight out of an abundance of caution. And this is where he’s going to be for the next few days, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yes. We should mention that he has been administered a Regeneron drug which is a drug cocktail, monoclonal antibodies that is supposed to help someone who’s in this stage of the virus. It has not been approved by the FDA. This is a drug that his doctor wanted him to start on today at the White House. So, obviously, we’re all are praying and thinking of President Trump as he goes through this situation that so many families in America have struggled with.
Thank you very much, Kristin, great to see you. We’ll see you later tonight at Walter Reed Medical Center.
So joining me now is Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary and author of the upcoming book “Leading America.” Sean, thank you for being here tonight. Your thoughts as you saw your former boss, leave the White House, go up the steps of Marine One. And I thought it was an interesting moment, it caught my eye, and I heard Charlie Hurt mentioned it as well. He sort of gave a tap, tap, tap to the top of the steps before he got on the helicopter to leave. Sort of a like everything’s going to be OK, kind of move, and sending that signal to the rest of America too.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, first, I’m glad to be with you. And it’s too bad that it’s on such unfortunate circumstances.
And I join everyone else in sending my thoughts and prayers to not just the president, but the First Family, Hope Hicks, and frankly, everyone in this country and around the world who has had to deal with this.
Look, Martha, I’ve toured Walter Reed. I’ve seen the facility the President’s going at. It’s, as Kristin Fisher said, it’s extensive. It’s meant to serve as a sort of an alternative West Wing where he can have meetings, staff can meet with him.
Obviously, because of the nature of this particular virus, I’m not sure how much interaction he is going to have with staff. But it’s almost like an Air Force One kind of situation where Air Force One is a floating White House. This facility that was built at Walter Reed allows the president to completely continue to function and execute his responsibilities and duties as President of the United States.
On top of that, obviously, he’s going to get the finest care that these military and medical professionals know how.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, that is the kind of thing that makes you feel glad to be an American when you see the sort of facilities that we can provide for our president and the place that he’s is headed. And we certainly hope that all of the knowledge that they have to bring to bear for this case will help the president to recover very quickly.
One of the things that started almost immediately, Sean, in some of the sniping that was happening when the diagnosis – when the President announced his own diagnosis was that, what – who can we trust?
We’ve had a series of people at the White House – they even named you, who haven’t told us the truth. What do you say about what we’ve seen today?
Because I there was a long period of quiet and – but it all started – we need to point out, with the President’s own tweet of his own diagnosis. And then we just heard from him moments ago. What do you say about all that?
SPICER: Well, first of all, I’m glad that he was the one that got out in front of this and explained what was going on and how he was doing and how the first lady were doing. So I think that was helpful, because it set the right tone. There wasn’t a bunch of leaks that came out. The President was straightforward with the American people.
Look, Martha, I understand that we’re an election season. We’re 37 days away from the next election. There’s plenty of time to be political. Let’s get through these next couple days, and make sure the president and the First Family get the medical care and the attention that they deserve and need, so that we can continue to function as a country.
If you like President Trump, get out there and vote for him, make sure that we get four more years of these policies. But if you don’t you can – you vote against him. But there’s plenty of time to do that. We’re Americans.
Let’s solve our problems at the ballot box. But tonight, we’re all – we should all be rooting for our president to do well. And there’s a place and an opportunity if you want to change horses in the upcoming election to do that.
But tonight, let’s come together as Americans, pray for our government, pray for our first family. Make sure that they know that regardless of what strife we’re on, there’s times of national tragedy that we can come together in crisis and be together as one. And that’s why, I think, the world continues to look at us as the greatest nation on Earth.
MACCALLUM: You know, the President’s a worker. He likes to work almost all the time. I mean, occasionally take some time off to play golf and do some things that he likes to do, which everybody understands is a good way to sort of let off some steam.
But I’m just trying to picture him, holed up in this suite in Walter Reed with not a lot of people around him. And I’m hoping that that’s going to make him get better really quickly, because I my guess and my hope is that he’s going to get really antsy if he has to stay there for too long, Sean.
SPICER: Every time that you get sick, whether it’s a cold, the flu, or obviously coronavirus, I think the first thing every doctor tells you is drink lots of fluids and get tons of rest. Well, he may do the fluids part
(inaudible) he’s the Energizer Bunny man – going, going, going.
I think he may be working out of Walter Reed, but he’s going to continue to work on behalf of the American people. He’s going to make those phone calls. He’s going to do everything he can to the extent he’s able to keep up with his schedule, the phone calls. And that – and I guarantee the staff is going to realize that real quick that they might think that he’s off.
You joked about it, but the only time as press secretary that I knew I had a few minutes is – when he would take off to go to the golf course. You knew he had an hour or two, but that’s it. He’s up first thing in the morning and goes to late at night. And I think it’s going to be the same thing to the extent that, in between, these medical appointments and tests, but he’s going to keep fighting for the American people.
MACCALLUM: What happened to the campaign at this moment, Sean?
SPICER: You know, Martha, that’s an excellent question. I think there’s obviously an immediate pause, not just on the president side, but you’ve seen the Biden campaign talk about taking down their ads. But one thing is for certain tonight, I think there’s just a lot of a big X factor, both in terms of governance and policy, and then the political side, the campaign side.
Until we understand the extent of the President’s symptoms, whether it’s just a short term thing or whether he needs additional care, there’s going to be a lot of pause, about what goes – happens going forward.
But I can tell you right now, for at least the next 72-96 hours, I think we’re going to see a slowdown. What it looks like after that, whether Vice President Mike Pence picks up the mantle and really starts to do a lot more, it is one idea staff can do a lot of stuff. But the campaigns will go on. The door to door knocking, the phone calls, the e-mails, the campaign is going to keep moving forward.
The question becomes, what’s – to what extent does the president do events, does, calls, does videos, whatever. But I think you’re going to see the campaign continue to move forward. They’ll raise money. They’ll do all of the things that a campaign does in these final few days logistically, and mechanically to make sure that they put President Trump back in office for four more years.
But I think that the public piece of this, as far as he’s concerned, whether it’s a rally or a speech or an appearance, may take the sidelines for the next seven to 10 days. I think that the first question that’s going to happen, obviously, is whether or not that second debate that’s just at that two week window continues.
My guess right now is they will, but it’s going to be a town hall. So that’s sort of a different dynamic, because you’re going to interact with people the way that you wouldn’t have when Chris Wallace did his the other day where it’s just one moderator and two candidates.
So I think we might see some sort of alteration, if you will, or some additional precautions being taken. But you’re going to see after that two weeks that, he’s – there won’t be any more additional issues of, of spreading the virus. And so I think that that will be the first thing that kind of is dealt with. But aside from that, the campaign is going to move forward in all other aspects.
MACCALLUM: But Sean, we look at – I think a lot of people really respect the way that the president has forged ahead and had rallies and held most of them outside. There were some issues with some of the others. But how does what happen now change that? That whole messaging of go ahead, live your life, don’t lock down, everyone else to go back to work and him sort of trying to demonstrate that and doing it most without a mask. We saw with a mask on tonight. How does the message on this whole story change, Sean?
SPICER: It’s a really interesting question that you’re asking, because I know – there’s times when a person in your life, a friend or a loved one, a family member deals with a particular illness or disease or tragedy, and that sort of impacts how you look at that issue going forward, that disease, that virus, what have you.
And so it’ll be interesting to me how the President’s demeanor, tone, tenure and style change, after personally having been part – of seeing this, not just himself, but obviously, watching the first lady deal with it as well. So, it’s going to be interesting to see how that addresses. But, obviously, the more that we continue to adhere to the advice of medical professionals, the better. We’ve got to deal with this.
But what today proves, if anything, is that every one of us remains vulnerable to this disease. And we’ve got to continue to adhere to the medical advice, if not just for us, but for our family members, our friends, our fellow Americans. We need to do what we can to eradicate this virus as soon as possible. And if one little thing does that, then we should do it. And I think frankly, the President will be, obviously, I think much more in tune with that.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, the President has lost at least one close friend to this virus, and he has overseen an enormously accelerated vaccine process, the likes of which the country has never seen, probably driven in part by that loss and a loss of so many other Americans that we have watched over the course of this. Sean Spicer, thank you. Good to have you with us tonight.
SPICER: Thank you very much, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So as we have said President Trump at Walter Reed Medical Center tonight on the advice of his physician who prescribed – who described the president as fatigued, but in good spirits. The move, they say, is a precautionary step since more serious symptoms often don’t appear in patients until a week after infection, in what’s described by some medical experts as the potential danger zone of this virus and the course that it can take.
Dr. Marty Makary joins me now, Professor of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University School – of Public Health, and Fox News Medical Contributor. Dr. Makary, thank you very much. It’s great to have you with us. I have a lot of questions for you this evening.
The first one is this. If the president is showing symptoms at this point, there’s been some indication that he had a low fever, and that he was fatigued. Those are the symptoms so far. The onset of those symptoms, would that – how many days prior to those symptoms, would you imagine that he was infected, if those symptoms have now surfaced?
MARTY MAKARY, PROFESSOR, JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, it may be Martha that he’s in the middle of his infection or the course of his illness.
Typically the symptoms set on five to six days after somebody first becomes infected. And he appears to have some of these classic symptoms, fatigue, general malaise. You feel like you got the wind knocked out of you, you know, low energy, a light fever, that’s kind of a very common presentation and people just don’t feel themselves.
They can walk around, they can interact, they can engage in business activities, but they just don’t feel well. And that appears if you look at his demeanor, if you look at his ability to speak. He’s not one of these patients that has a hacking cough. He’s not somebody who’s got the severe high viral load symptoms. He’s got somebody – he’s somebody who’s got probably the low viral load symptoms. And his doctors are clearly doing this out of precaution, probably because they want Remdesivir to be given and that’s an intravenous medication.
MACCALLUM: OK, interesting. So, you think that he has had it for five to seven days. There’s been a lot of discussion about Hope Hicks who works very closely with him. She also has it. She apparently was showing symptoms on Wednesday night, on the way back from Minneapolis and was separated to a part of Air Force One, but it’s highly possible that they both got it from someone several days before that, correct?
MAKARY: Absolutely. We have no idea who the source person was. And sometimes there’s aerosolized virus in an indoor area and multiple people can acquire the infection from that sort of cloud of aerosolized virus.
MACCALLUM: Yes. So let’s talk a little bit about the medication. He was given a Regeneron medication, which is an antibody – a synthetic antibody.
It’s sort of like the plasma treatment, which is taken from actual people who had it – from their blood plasma. But this is a synthetically created form of that that helps your body fight it off. Did I say that correctly?
And tell us a little bit more about that drug that he’s already been administered?
MAKARY: That’s exactly right, Martha. So antibodies are gold – when it comes to fighting coronavirus antibodies are gold. It is what your body produces when you get exposed. It is what gives you immunity for at least a few months. It’s what your body remembers to produce in the future. That’s the long term immunity and that’s what’s in convalescent plasma.
But you can also make these antibodies. These sort of very small mesh proteins that latch on to the spike proteins and neutralize the virus. You can make those in the laboratory. And Regeneron made not just one made not just one type, but three different types, and that’s why it’s called a cocktail.
And Lily is also working on a monoclonal antibody. That’s what the term monoclonal or polyclonal means. It’s manufactured, delivered in high doses and it does appear to have significant promise. And there’s a track record of using this type of therapy for other viruses.
MACCALLUM: But it is not yet FDA approved. Is that correct?
MAKARY: That’s right. It’s in Phase III trials. And in one of those Phase III trials, they did read out some of the early promising results in one of the interim analyses. It was sort of like Remdesivir. It was associated with a shortened length of stay, which isn’t a survival benefit. But later on a survival benefit was found with Remdesivir. That’ll probably be the case with monoclonal antibodies.
MACCALLUM: And as far as the Remdesivir, you’re speculating that that may be one of the reasons that they are bringing him to Walter Reed, because it has to be administered intravenously? Or do you know that that’s what they’re doing?
MAKARY: I don’t know that. But given that both Remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies are two medications that have shown promise and generally are recognized to have greater benefit, the earlier you give it in the course of an illness, unlike steroids. That’s probably something his doctors are thinking about.
And when I, as a physician, want one of my patients to have something done, and they’re a VIP, they’re a head of state, and we see these patients frequently at Johns Hopkins, they want to have it done in their own arrangement, in their home. We always want to do things the standard way we normally do things. We want patients in the hospital. We want our team, our nurses, we want to do things with our standard routines. And there is a safety benefit there and there’s also a lot of other good reasons to do it that way.
MACCALLUM: OK. All right. It’s – this whole period of the next couple of days – I just want to ask you one quick question before I let you go. We mentioned the danger zone. And we’ve heard that he’s going to be there for a few days. Talk to us about that, and what you would be looking for during that period and hope to avoid?
MAKARY: Well, the reality is most patients take at least a couple days or maybe longer to sort of get through the illness. And when people go to the hospital, they’re probably giving the President and the media a historical average.
We as physicians generally don’t want to give somebody an estimate of one or two days, because then on day three they’re very upset, right? They feel like they’re an outlier. This is not gone according to the plan. So, generally speaking – he doesn’t look very sick. This is – a lot of it is precautionary. If he took a turn and became more sick then you don’t want to have a mad rush to the hospital. So, again, just as the White House is saying, this is mostly precautionary.
MACCALLUM: OK. All right. Dr. Marty Makary at Johns Hopkins, thank you so much. Great to have you here tonight.
MAKARY: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So President Trump at Walter Reed Medical Center tonight and for the next few days, as we’ve told you. He is going to be off the campaign trail. Final stretch of the election, 30 days to go, and he will be working to recover and beat this virus. So Joe Biden sent his well wishes to the President and the first lady who was also diagnosed with COVID-19 before urging vigilance in this national fight. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Sending my prayers for the health and safety of the first lady and President of United States after they tested positive for COVID-19. This is not a matter of politics. It’s a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Jacqui Heinrich has the story live in Wilmington, Delaware tonight. Hi, Jacqui.
JACQUI HEINRICH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. A significant development in light of today’s news, the Biden campaign saying they’re pulling all negative ads because of what’s happened, adding that that decision was made even before the announcement came down that President Trump was heading to the hospital.
The Biden team is also working with the Trump campaign to negotiate more space between the candidates at the vice-presidential debate set to happen Wednesday in Salt Lake City. Biden’s camp reportedly wants 12 feet of space and there are reports the Commission on Presidential Debates initially sided with the Trump campaign opposing that request.
But Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said, “We are open to more space between the candidates, which we will be happy to discuss. This is a seated debate so it’s just a matter of moving farther apart at the table.”
Today after receiving two negative Coronavirus tests, Joe Biden pushed on with the campaign stop in Michigan which was closed to the public, delivering remarks mask on, first saying he’s praying for the president and the first lady and urging people to take steps advised by experts to help mitigate this pandemic.
Biden, again, advocated for a nationwide mask mandate, expanded testing and tracing, all points that he’s hit before, but often paired with criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic. Biden did not make the same digs tonight against the President when he urged the American people to take this virus seriously.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: We can get this pandemic under control, so we can get our economy working again for everyone. But this cannot be a partisan moment. It must be an American moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEINRICH: Tonight, in a virtual fundraiser with Senator Kamala Harris, who’s hosting an event in Las Vegas tonight, former President Barack Obama also extended his well wishes for a speedy recovery to the First Family, saying, “We’re all Americans and we’re all human beings, and we want to make sure everybody is healthy. Michelle and I want to make sure we acknowledge the president and the first lady at this difficult time.”
Now, the Trump campaign is pushing back on the notion that Biden has gone easy on the president today. Tim Murtaugh telling me that Joe Biden used his speech in Michigan to attack the president in other ways, even though he didn’t name him personally in those attacks, saying that he attacked social security and attack the president’s plan on the economy. So, obviously, there’s still some campaigning going on. But, definitely, a different tone between these two campaigns amid this serious news tonight, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Jacqui Heinrich, thank you very much in Wilmington, Delaware for covering the Biden campaign. Joining me now David Bossie, Trump 2020, Campaign Senior Advisor, Fox News Contributor and author of “Trump: America
First: The President Succeeds Against All Odds”, which has new meaning tonight as he heads to Walter Reed Hospital.
Tom Bevan is also with us, Co-Founder and President of RealClearPolitics; and Richard Fowler, Senior Fellow at New Leaders Council and Fox News Contributor. Welcome, gentlemen. Good to have all of you with us tonight.
Tom Bevan, let me start with you. Sort of the ramifications of this, as we are 30 days from a presidential election in one of the strangest political years in history, with this pandemic and all of the other elements around it and now the president coming down with COVID-19, with just such a short time left in this campaign, your thoughts tonight.
TOM BEVAN, REALCLEARPOLITICS CO-FOUNDER: Yes, I mean, we were already in uncharted territory in terms of this election and all that’s been going on.
But as far as the Trump’s diagnosis, I mean, there’s the tangible aspect, which is four weeks left, he’s effectively off the trail for two weeks.
And Trump is – he’s an irreplaceable part of the campaign. Only he can do what he does, which is to have these rallies and energize his base voters now. So Mike Pence, is going to have to pick up the slack and – with events and with the debates.
And then there’s the intangible aspects of this, which is, how long is Trump off the trail? How sick does he get? And how do voters internalize that? It’s – COVID is now back in the headlines. Is that good news for Trump? Is that bad news for Trump? Is there’s some sympathy that’s generated for him? All these things are sort of moving parts that we don’t know how they’re going to play out. But we are definitely in uncharted territory right now.
MACCALLUM: Yes, David Bossie, this is a side of President Trump that we haven’t seen. I think about the contrast between him speaking softly on that video, and just giving a wave and a nod to the reporters and not stopping to talk. And then I think back to just – I don’t know, I guess, it was like 48 hours ago? It feels like eons ago that we were watching him on that stage in a very aggressive forward motion during the course of that really, really volatile debate. This version of President Trump, how does America take that in?
DAVID BOSSIE, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, President Trump’s a fighter. He’s a bigger than life personality. It’s one of the things that draws people to him, and why people love him. And I think that the outpouring of support we’ve seen all day today, talking about wanting this president and the first lady to get well, to get well soon, so he can get back on the trail to win reelection.
We all want that. I hope as a country, we can come together to support it.
We all need to rally around it. And what I would say is, our supporters, which have been through this before with a lockdown in April and May, we saw these Trump rallies on their own organically, I think we’re going to see a lot more of those – the boat parades and the car parades.
MACCALLUM: Interesting, Richard, your thoughts as we watch this video from earlier tonight of the president taking off on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House?
RICHARD FOWLER, SENIOR FELLOW, NEW LEADERS COUNCIL: Well, first and foremost, let me send my thoughts, prayers and hopes for speedy recovery to the president, to the first lady and to all Americans that are suffering with this heinous and deadly virus.
And I think if you think about the electoral context of this, because we’re just 30 days away from this election, there’s definitely clearly that everybody is sort of looking at what it is and I think we are in uncharted territory. And I think now more than ever in the front of most Americans minds is how we are working as a country to flatten COVID-19 and which candidate would have the best plan to deal with COVID-19.
Because the moment you hear the President of the United States is going to Walter Reed, whether he is going there for observation or he is going there to work, every American pauses and says, hold on, something is different about this moment.
FOWLER: And I think this will be in the front of mind as people are currently voting across the country. And they’ll be looking at each candidates’ plan on how they plan to deal with COVID-19 and who has the better plan?
MACCALLUM: Yes. Absolutely. You know, Tom, you mentioned the possibility that it engenders sympathy for the president and I think in most situations in most parts of history, across this country, that would be sort of an easy and obvious thing to say. But we live in a time that is so divided.
And even today after the news of the president’s diagnosis, some of the fierce responses that we saw on social media were just, you know, just blew you away with how unfeeling they could possibly be. But is it possible that the president — that this works, you know, in some ways, to his advantage which sounds very crass to say and obviously his health is the most important thing. But is that a possibility that is down the road?
TOM BEVAN, PRESIDENT, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Sure, it is. As David mentioned, I mean, you know, there is the possibility of a rally around the president effect. We’ve seen that in past crises and events. I agree. I mean, look, if you spend time online. Online is a terrible place. And there were just absolutely reprehensible remarks that were made by folks on the left.
But I think the vast majority of the country is not that ideological. They are more empathetic. They are more caring. They look at the president and the first lady and wish them well and want to see them — even if they may not agree with their policies or what have you, want to see them, you know, recover. And wish them well.
So, I think there is the chance that this could — there could be a rally around the president in effect even from parts of his base that maybe had gotten soft may come back to him. We’ll just have to wait and see how this is interpreted and digested by the public. And we won’t know that for a number of days.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Mitch McConnell saying that he thinks that the next debate will go forward in one form or another. And I think in this world that we are living in, 14, 15 days away is a lifetime at this point. So, we certainly hope that that is what’s going to happen.
I would also mention that it’s my understanding that Senators Graham and McConnell have said that they see the Supreme Court nomination process as staying on track. And that there will be no delay in moving that forward as a result of what we have seen happening over the course of today.
Richard, thank you very much. Tom, thank you very much. David Bossie, thanks to you as well. Gentlemen, good to have you all with us tonight.
FOWLER: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, we are going to have a live report from the White House on President Trump’s stay at Walter Reed Medical Center coming up next. Stay with us.
MACCALLUM: President Trump, as have you probably heard by now is spending the next few days at the Walter Reed Medical Center. News of his COVID-19 diagnosis triggering alarm across the political sphere after a very busy week of events across multiple states.
Let’s turn now to chief White House correspondent John Roberts with a lookback at all of that. Good evening to you, John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. Good evening to you. You know, this is a just in case, just in case type of a situation. The president has been feeling a little bit under the weather.
He has had some congestion. A little bit of a fever. Some of the other symptoms that are associated with mild coronavirus disease but because he’s in a risk category at 74 years old and because he’s a little bit overweight that puts him in an additional risk category.
His physician, Dr. Sean Conley and the White House staff wanted him in a place where God forbid if things should start to turn to, you know, the bad side or things should start to go south rapidly that he would be in a place where he could receive treatment immediately as opposed to having to be air lifted somewhere else.
Clearly, you get a certain degree of treatment here at the White House. The first lady by the sway is staying here to receive her treatment. But just in case when you are dealing with the leader of the free world. God forbid something went wrong quickly you would want to have him in a position where you could get treatment to him very quickly. You also want to be able to have him monitored with the highest tech equipment 24/7 as well.
As for how the president was looking on his way out as he went out to the helicopter, other than wearing a mask, which he typically doesn’t do when he is going out to the helicopter, gave a big thumbs up there. A couple of thumbs up. Didn’t look much different than dozens of times that I’ve seen him walk to the helicopter in the past. He did not stop to talk. Probably because he didn’t think it was appropriate being infected with coronavirus to step up to a group of press and speak with them. He might have always not felt like doing it either.
But just before he left the residence, he taped this message which he put out on Twitter, listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well. But we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well. So, thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, I mean, he didn’t even look like a man who needed to go to the hospital. But, again, as you see the president landing there at Walter Reed and stepping off of Marine One, just, you know, just in case. Wanted to make sure that they’ve got him in place where they can treat him to the best of their ability.
Interesting to note, too, that Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s personal physician put out a list of medications that the president has been taking to try to stop the growth of the virus within him. He took a single dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibodies that I know you were talking about earlier tonight, Martha.
He took zinc which is known to inhibit viral replication, it also boosts your immune system. Vitamin D because it’s been found that people who have progressed to severe coronavirus disease often have a vitamin D deficiency.
Took melatonin to help him sleep. Aspirin which is a blood thinner, because blood clotting has been a problem.
But this one I found really interesting. The president has been taking a generic version of Pepcid, you know, the stomach medication, it’s what’s called — what’s called a histamine blocker. The generic name is famotidine.
A study done out of Columbia University earlier this year found that people taking Pepcid or Famotidine were 45 percent less likely to die and 48 less likely to have to go on a ventilator. Though scientists aren’t sure what the mechanism of action is, but they believed that what it may do is moderate that hyper immune inflammatory response that coronavirus tends to
— tends to provoke.
So, the president taking an array of drugs. It is also interesting to note that hydroxychloroquine were not among the cocktail of drugs that the president is taking.
ROBERTS: He took that earlier this year as a preventive and he has said that if he ever got coronavirus disease, he would probably take it again but so far Dr. Conley does not have him on hydroxy.
MACCALLUM: Yes, that’s interesting to note. And I thought that that list of that sort of cocktail of different things that he is being given and all the background on why those are in the mix that you just gave us, John, is very interesting.
Before I let you go I just want to ask you, you know, when you look back at the events over the last several days, and going back to just under a week, you have the Rose Garden announcement of his judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett and several of the people who attended that have now contracted coronavirus, including the president of Notre Dame who was there and several other individuals.
ROBERTS: General Mike Flynn. Yes.
MACCALLUM: You know, any thoughts on, yes, I mean, think thoughts on how, you know, what kind of contact tracing is being done and if there is any way to figure out where this latest spike that has affected the president may have begun?
ROBERTS: You know where is all kinds of contact tracing that’s going on here at the White House. More broadly in Washington among people who were at that Rose Garden event among people who were at the president’s event in Bedminster yesterday which is very puzzling that the White House operations signed off on allowing the president to go to Bedminster when they knew that he had been in close proximity to somebody who had coronavirus.
ROBERTS: But they are trying to, you know, to track down, you know, from epidemiological investigating basis where all of this might have happened.
And there are a lot of signs that are pointing to that event in the Rose Garden on Saturday late afternoon because, as you mentioned at least five people who were there all came down with it.
ROBERTS: It could be coincidental it. It could be that that’s the source of it. I don’t think anybody knows at this point.
MACCALLUM: Yes. John Roberts, thank you very much, John. Good to see you tonight.
ROBERTS: Good to see you, too.
MACCALLUM: So, let’s bring in Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute fellow, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Fox News contributor. Marc, it’s great to have you with us this evening.
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be here, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You know, if you wrote this script of 2020 as a presidential drama, you could not imagine the twists and turns that it would take. And if you, you know, wrote it somebody would probably say that it sounded too unbelievable to be true.
THIESSEN: We can’t forget that.
MACCALLUM: But now with 30 days to go in this election, the most contentious, exactly, the most contentious issue and difficult issue of this year coronavirus has now struck the President of the United States.
And tonight, he is resting at Walter Reed Medical Hospital. Your thoughts on this tonight?
THIESSEN Yes. I mean, first of all, it’s great to seat president walking out on his own power, recording a video, and he seemed in good spirits. But let’s keep in mind that, you know, in April British Prime Minister Boris Johnson got sick and initial reports were that he’s got mild symptoms and he is working hard and he’s in good spirits. Even recorded a video for the British people. And a week later he’s in the ICU fighting for his life.
So, you know, this is a very, very deadly disease and a very serious illness that the president has now. The advantage he has, of course, is that since April we have come up with a lot. We have learned a lot about the virus. We know how to treat it better than we used to. And there is new therapies available that weren’t available back then. But we really do need to keep praying for the president because this could be only the beginning.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, that’s the thing that we have all learned about this virus is that some people just get such a mild case they don’t even know they have it in some instances.
MACCALLUM: And then for other people it can be so deadly and make them so sick. I know you had your 94-year-old mom was able to fend it off.
MACCALLUM: And we certainly hope that —
THIESSEN: And beat it, yes.
MACCALLUM: — the president who is – yes, is a couple decades younger than that can do the same.
MACCALLUM: You know, your thoughts as you look at this where we are in this election cycle, Marc, and what we’ve got to look ahead to in the next 30 days as Americans make this really important decision for the country.
THIESSEN: I mean, if you turn off Twitter it’s been nice to see the pause and all the recriminations and the virulent attacks going on in the country uniting behind praying for the president’s health. But that’s not going to last very long. It’s only a matter of time before people start criticizing the president saying, you know, he only has himself to blame. That if he had taken the disease more seriously, he wouldn’t be sick right now. So that’s all coming and it’s around the corner.
And look, the White House has its share of blame for its handling of this.
You mentioned the ceremony that Amy Coney Barrett, you saw Mike Lee who has it like not wearing a mask, hugging people on video. People were not social distancing.
THIESSEN: I think they need to take this much more seriously and take masking more seriously. But at the same time, all that being said, let’s not forget where this virus came from. The reason that our country faced a shutdown and the massive economic hit that we have had and millions of people infected is because the Chinese Communist Party lied to its people and lied to the world about this virus.
They knew in December that the virus was capable of human-to-human transmission and they kept that information from the world for six weeks.
They arrested doctors. They cared more about suppressing information than suppressing the virus.
There was a University of South Hampton study that found that if they acted three weeks earlier, we would have reduced the number of cases by 95 percent. So, the reason the President of the United States is in the hospital tonight is because the Chinese Communist Party and its totalitarian dictatorship that lied to the world. And so, when we go through this, when we’re thrown around blame let’s start the blame where it really belongs which is in Beijing.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Marc. Good to have you here tonight.
THIESSEN: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Marc Thiessen joining us this evening.
So, coming up, Bill Bennett will be here. He served in the Reagan administration and he will talk to us about his thoughts tonight as the president is at Walter Reed Medical Center and the sudden pivot that we see in America. He’s next.
MACCALLUM: So, moments ago, Brazilian President Bolsonaro wishing President Trump a speedy recovery as he plans to spend the next couple of days at Walter Reed Medical Center. Writing on Facebook, with faith in God, they will soon be recovered and the work in running the country and re-election campaign will not be harmed from President Bolsonaro.
And we also have seen good wishes, good wishes from Boris Johnson. There have been quite a few, a handful, I think it’s fair to say, leaders of countries around the world who have dealt with the coronavirus and recovered.
Joining me now this is Bill Bennett, former Reagan education secretary and Fox News contributor. Bill, good evening to you. It’s good to have you with us tonight.
BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: You are historian and when you saw the chopper on the South Lawn tonight, and the president walk out and head to the facility at Walter Reed Medical Center, a suite that is designed for just this sort of need that is rarely used and that is where President Trump finds himself this evening.
What are your thoughts, sir?
BENNETT: Well, rarely used but it should be used. And should be used in this kind of situation. I was pleased when I saw the president walk directly and with that strong gait to the helicopter. And the same when he got out at Walter Reed.
You know, we are so successful as Americans, Martha. I was thinking about the founders today that we forget that life has vicissitudes. The founders are very mindful of it and talked about all the shortcomings and problems of life and of political life. And this happens.
You know, we learn — we need to learn this and children need to learn it that life doesn’t go easy. Justice Brandeis told his daughter the sooner you learn that life has difficulties and travails the easier it will be more you.
Nevertheless, I am not (Inaudible) or morose. Some of the things that have been said are almost funereal. Of course, we take it seriously. But this is a strong man. This is a rugged guy. And I think he will come out of this very, very well.
I’m reminded of Ronald Reagan, a president I served. And I think we will soon see that strength and that sense of humor that we associate with Reagan and also with Donald Trump.
MACCALLUM: I saw — I got a message from Eric Trump who has tweeted for his father and Ivanka Trump as well saying, you know, that he is a warrior and that he will be fine —
MACCALLUM: — and he will prevail in the light of this as so many Americans has. It’s worth pointing out that the recent statistics that we’ve seen is people in his age range, 99 percent, more than 99 percent recover from coronavirus. That’s an enormous number that we all need to remember tonight. I’m glad you are pointing out that everyone needs to sort of take a breath here and accept the fact that this —
MACCALLUM: — this virus, thank God, has a very high recovery rate. We have lost 200,000 Americans to it which is an absolute tragedy and as the loss is felt, as the president always says one is too many. But there is going to be a lot said, Bill, about these events, about the Rose Garden event, about the rallies, about all of the maskless places and the president tonight wearing a mask and his sort of attitude towards this has been to kind of, you know, run at it like a bull and he has been criticized for that. What do you say about that tonight?
BENNETT: Well, you know, as Teddy Roosevelt said that there are some battles that can only be run in the arena. You know? And the man who’s missed those fights has missed part of living. This is a guy who engages, you know. He is like the Irishman who walks down the street and says this is private fight or can anybody get in on it.
He likes a good fight. He likes a good tussle. So, if you hadn’t heard that at Notre Dame, they say that a lot anyway – anyway. So, I think we’ll see him back in the fight. You know, the Democrats aren’t going to hold off very long. Nice message today. But you know, there are some other things coming.
Look, it’s America, and we take these things very, very seriously. But I am optimistic. I’m with Dr. Makary who, by the way, was my surgeon.
BENNETT: And everything he said makes sense to me.
MACCALLUM: All right.
BENNETT: But the president will prevail and the country will prevail.
MACCALLUM: Bill Bennett, thank you so much. Good to see you.
BENNETT: You bet.
MACCALLUM: More of The Story right after this. Stay with us.
MACCALLUM: Here is tonight’s quote of the night from House chaplain Father Patrick Conroy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK CONROY, CHAPLAIN, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The nation awakens to the news of the president having contracted the coronavirus. Countless numbers of other national leaders and figures are exposed and there is now a heightened vigilance surrounding the plague.
Hear us again now as we place our trust in you. Comfort and send your spirit of healing to those who suffer from illness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Amen. That is The Story for Friday, October 2nd. We’ll see you back here on Monday night. And have a safe weekend, everybody. Take care. Be well.
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