The president said Thursday he “figured” he could catch the coronavirus by going about his day-to-day duties at the White House but carried on because he “can’t hang out in the basement.”
“I’m the leader, and I can’t be like Biden where I hang out in a basement every day. Sure, if I wanted to hang out in a basement, I wouldn’t catch it, but 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,” he said during an interview on Fox Business.
Former Vice President Joe Biden spent much of the summer campaigning and giving interviews from a remote studio in the basement of his Wilmington, Del., home.
Recalling a recent event with Gold Star families, the president said he “figured that would be a chance that I would catch it.”
“I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that. But they all came in and they all talked about their son and daughter and father and, and, you know, they all came up to me and they tell me a story. I was really amazing, actually. Beautiful but sad,” Trump said.
“And I can’t say, ‘Back up. Stand 10 feet.’ I just can’t do it. And I went through like 35 people. And everyone had a different story,” the commander-in-chief continued.
Trump said he could’ve asked them not to tell their stories, but that he couldn’t bear to do that.
“They’re telling you the story of their son, who just died, or daughter, or husband, who just died in a war or recently died,” Trump said.
“And I can’t back up, Maria, and say, ‘Give me room, I want room, give me 12 feet. Stay 12 feet away,’ when 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 to back up. I’m not doing it,” he told host Maria Bartiromo.
Trump returned to the White House on Monday after receiving three days of treatment for the coronavirus at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Before that, Trump announced his nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, during a White House ceremony on Sept. 26.
He attended the event with Gold Star families at the White House the next day.
At least eight people, including first lady Melania Trump and former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who attended the ceremony later tested positive for COVID-19.