U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29, 2020.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Trump earlier this month tested positive for Covid-19 and was hospitalized for several days on the heels of his first debate with the former vice president, but since then has been declared free of the virus by his doctor.
The two men are set to square off for their second and final debate Thursday evening at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
That debate originally was supposed to be the third one of the 2020 election campaign.
But the second scheduled debate, originally planned for last Thursday, was scrapped after Trump balked at a plan by the Commission on Presidential Debates to hold the showdown virtually, instead of in person, in light of the president’s positive diagnosis.
Trump has claimed he does not remember whether he was tested for the virus on the day of the first debate, Sept. 29, in Cleveland. That debate occurred two days before Trump tested positive for Covid-19.
“Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t,” Trump told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie last Thursday when asked if he took a test on the day of that debate.
Trump’s sit-down with Guthrie and one for Biden at the same time on ABC were scheduled because of the second planned debate’s cancellation.
The president and his aides have repeatedly refused to reveal when he last tested negative for the coronavirus before he tested positive at the beginning of October.
On Monday, when a reporter asked Trump if he would take a test before Thursday’s debate, the president replied, “I would have no problem with it.”
” I’m totally free, right,” Trump said, referring to test results released by the White House physician last week indicating he was negative for the virus on consecutive days.
“I’m immune, they say. They say if you’ve had it, you are immune,” he said.
Trump’s claim contradicts a recent report in the British medical journal The Lancet, which said that “the degree of protective immunity conferred by infection” with Covid-19 “is currently unknown.”
That article detailed two cases of coronavirus reinfections in the same person.
Trump again refused to say Monday when his last negative test was before he tested positive.
The president said, “Is that very important to you?” and “Why is it so important to you?” when a reporter pressed him on that question.
Trump then said, falsely, “my doctors have already given it.”