Rudy Giuliani says he got 'celebrity' coronavirus treatment, advice from president's doctor
Trump's personal lawyer received access not afforded to most Americans.
Giuliani, who was hospitalized on Sunday after contracting COVID-19, was transparent about the reality that he was treated like a "celebrity," like Trump and other close allies who have received access average Americans would not get.
"I think if it wasn't me I wouldn't have been put in the hospital," Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, acknowledged on Tuesday when he phoned in from his Washington hospital room to a radio show he typically hosts on the WABC radio station, which is not affiliated with ABC News.
Giuliani said the president's physician at the White House had pushed him to check himself into the hospital, even though Giuliani said at the time he was resistant to doing so. He tweeted Thursday that the doctor was Sean Conley, the president's chief physician.
"His doctor sent me here," Giuliani said Tuesday. "He talked me into it. I didn't really want to go to the hospital, and he said, 'Don't be stupid. We can get it over with in three days if we send you to the hospital.'”
The White House declined to comment on whether Trump had asked Conley or the White House medical unit to assist Giuliani. A spokesman also declined to say whether Conley would help private citizens without being directed to by the president or another senior White House official.
Giuliani did not elaborate on what, if any, help he received from Conley beyond the push to get him admitted.
Giuliani, who initially minimized his case as being "very mild,” on Thursday characterized his symptoms as having been "serious." He said he had experienced some difficulty breathing.
He said Tuesday that he had received the steroid dexamethasone and the antiviral medication remdesivir.
Trump had also been treated with those two drugs when he had coronavirus, according to the White House. Both are now widely available across the country.
Giuliani referred to having received "the cocktail," but it was unclear if he was referring to one or both of those drugs -- or whether he was referring to a third type of treatment Trump had received, a monoclonal antibody cocktail produced by the pharmaceutical company Regeneron; the firm Eli Lilly makes a similar treatment.
When Trump was ill, he became one of just a handful of people in the world to have received the treatment outside of trials.
Giuliani said he received "exactly the same" treatment Trump did, although it was unclear if he was being imprecise with his wording or if he had, in fact, received special access to the monoclonal antibody treatment, too.
"The minute I took the cocktail yesterday, I felt 100% better," Giuliani said. "It works very quickly, wow."
Trump has used his position to secure the monoclonal antibody treatment for his allies, while the vast majority of Americans do not have access to it.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who is a close Trump ally and an ABC News contributor, was treated with Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody treatment, too.
The Food and Drug Administration this fall authorized both Regeneron's and Eli Lilly's treatments for emergency use, but they are only available for a relatively narrow group of patients who are eligible to receive them.
Despite his own hospitalization, Giuliani downplayed the seriousness of the virus, which he called “a curable disease at this point” and said "if you get early treatment nothing is going to happen to you, the earlier you get treated for this, you totally eliminate the chance of dying."
The reality is that the star treatment Giuliani received is not available to most and drew a stark contrast to the dire reality facing many ordinary Americans who contract the virus, with a growing crisis in parts of the country staring down the prospect of shortages in facilities and healthcare professionals to treat the growing number of patients.
The U.S. is likely just days away from marking yet another grim milestone of 300,000 deaths at the current daily death rate of more than 2,000 deaths a day. Just Wednesday, the U.S. set a new record of 3,124 deaths reported in a single day.
Giuliani expressed no regret for his reckless behavior amid the pandemic, in traveling across the country and eschewing a mask as he has participated in multiple indoor gatherings against the advice of public health officials. He's been leading the president’s last-ditch effort to overturn his election loss despite having produced no meaningful evidence to date to support the president’s baseless claims of voter fraud.
"I'd rather take risk than live in a basement all my life," he said, noting he's had cancer and a serious knee operation but "you have to go with them. You can't overreact to them."