He told Howard Stern in 1993 that he washes his hands “as many times as possible.” He has called shaking hands “terrible” and “barbaric.” He reportedly views coughing as a “sign of weakness.” He made former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci get a penicillin shot aboard Air Force One because of his hoarse voice. And he dismissed unsubstantiated allegations of a 2013 lewd tape by pointing to his germaphobia: “Does anyone really believe that story? I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way. Believe me.”
What was notable about the exchange that aired Sunday was that it combined two Trump profiles that the public is rarely exposed to, especially in such stark terms.
But while Trump’s reaction to Mulvaney’s cough was perhaps predictable given his germaphobe and producer past, Trump’s germaphobia is not absolute if his past statements are any indication.
“I was in the fourth row and she was sweating and looked beautiful and she threw her hat, right? Now normally if a performer throws a hat and it’s sweaty and wet and everything, I have no interest in it, right?” Trump told Stern about a Britney Spears performance during an interview in 2007. “But I grab that sucker, right? It didn’t bother me. … I wasn’t afraid of those germs.”