What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Unanswered questions, credibility issues over Trump’s true health

At his press briefing on Saturday, President Trump’s physician, who said the president was “doing very well,” dodged some questions from the press about his treatment, raising concerns over the true timeline of his COVID-19 diagnosis. Julie Pace, D.C. Bureau Chief for the Associated Press joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the president’s health status and how this will impact his campaign.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    With the latest on the president's health status and how his diagnosis, and those of other lawmakers and aides, is impacting both the campaign and the scheduled Supreme Court nomination hearings, I spoke with Julie Pace, DC Bureau Chief for the Associated Press.

    Julie, first, there seems to be some confusion on the president's health. We all witnessed the president's doctor at the podium and then within minutes we got information that says maybe the president is not doing as well as the doctor had characterized it.

  • Julie Pace:

    There absolutely is confusion, and this is because the doctor tried to portray, I think, a much sunnier picture of this situation. The emphasis was really on how good the President is doing, how well he is feeling, the fact that he is up and walking around. But the doctor also tried to avoid some really specific questions.

    And we later find it found out that the president had been on oxygen on Friday morning and had been in quite a concerning situation. And certainly people we talked to say that he is improved from where he was on Friday, but they also make clear that he's not out of the woods, that the next 48 hour period will be quite crucial.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And what happens politically now? How do the campaigns move forward? What is the White House saying in terms of how they plan to continue trying to win re-election?

  • Julie Pace:

    The Trump campaign is in a difficult position right now because President Trump is the draw for their tickets. There is nobody else in the Trump orbit who could draw as many people and as much interest on the campaign trail. He's not going to be campaigning, certainly not for the next several days.

    The campaign did announce a plan for Mike Pence, the Vice President, to hold a rally later next week in Arizona. And we do know that other events are being moved virtually. But the campaign really is scrambling at this point to try to figure out how just one month from Election Day, they try to get out there and rally their supporters when their top person, the president, is sitting in a hospital right now.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And there's also the not so small matter of a Supreme Court nomination. What do we know about how Congress is planning to proceed, especially considering a couple of senators now who have also been tested as positive?

  • Julie Pace:

    Right. This is not just a virus outbreak that's happening at the White House. We also have positive cases in Capitol Hill, particularly to senators at this point who are on the Judiciary Committee, which will be seen overseeing the Amy Coney Barrett hearing.

    As of this point, Republicans say they are pressing forward. Those hearings will begin the week of October 12th. But I do think that this raises a concern about this fast timeline. Can they really push a Supreme Court nomination forward if there's an active concern about the spread of coronavirus on Capitol Hill?

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And so far, what has Leader McConnell said about this?

  • Julie Pace:

    At this point, they are planning to move forward with the nomination process. They don't want to disrupt this timeline. McConnell hasn't fully committed to having the full Senate vote before the election yet, that still has been a little bit up in the air. But they would like to get her out of committee before the election so that they have that option.

    Of course, that final decision is tied up not just in what's happening with coronavirus but also the way they think that the politics of that plays both in the presidential race and in some of their competitive Senate races.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And at the moment what's the pace of how we're expecting to get information from the White House on the president's health?

  • Julie Pace:

    Well, look, I think this is a great question and actually one that we're pretty concerned about as journalists who are trying to get information to the American people.

    Up until today and in the sort of immediate term after Trump's diagnosis, we were getting some pretty brief statements from the White House doctor on paper. We had our first full briefing earlier Saturday, and we would certainly like to hope that those briefings continue on a daily basis.

    But I do think that the White House is going to have to deal with some credibility issues, given the fact that this first briefing today left so many questions unanswered and that the situation seemed to change so much so quickly.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right, Julie Pace of the Associated Press. Thanks so much.

  • Julie Pace:

    Thanks for having me.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest