President Donald Trump appeared maskless before hundreds of supporters on Saturday for his first public event since contracting Covid-19, declaring from the White House balcony: “I am feeling great.”
“I want you to know our nation is going to defeat this terrible China virus,” Trump told the cheering crowd of hundreds below, most wearing masks but with very little social distancing at the outdoor event.
“It’s going to disappear, it is disappearing,” Trump said of the virus, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans and severely dented his chances of winning a second term on November 3.
“Get out and vote — and I love you,” Trump told the crowd — a sea of red “MAGA” hats — who chanted back “Four more years” throughout his 18-minute, law-and-order themed speech.
Pulled off the campaign trail after testing positive for Covid-19 nine days ago, Trump has been counting the days until he can get back out.
Saturday’s campaign-style event at the White House set the stage for his first rally Monday in the critical swing state of Florida — an event slammed as “reckless” by Biden, in light of concerns the president might still be contagious.
Undeterred, the Trump campaign announced two more rallies next week, in battleground Pennsylvania Tuesday and in Iowa on Wednesday.
Trump’s biggest liability — overwhelming public dissatisfaction over his handling of the pandemic — has returned as the headline issue of the campaign thanks to his own infection, with cases again on the rise nationwide.
Trailing his Democratic rival Joe Biden by close to 10 points in national polls, Trump insists the pollsters are wrong, and is seeking to reboot his campaign less than four weeks from Election Day.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)