‘I’m feeling great,’ says Donald Trump in his first public appearance after testing COVID-19 positive
US President Donald Trump on Saturday (local time made his first public appearance since returning to the White House from a three-day stay in the hospital for COVID-19, even as his aides remained silent on whether he is still contagious.
Standing alone and not wearing a mask, Trump spoke from the White House balcony at an event called “a peaceful protest for law & order,” attended by a few hundred people standing on the lawn below. His appearance is seen as a first step toward resuming full campaigning next week.
Speaking without hesitation, Trump appeared to be back to his usual rallying form, boasting about his record and hurling unsubstantiated allegations against his opponents as a packed crowd of supporters chanted, “We love you.”
The US President thanked the people for their prayers and stated that he will be coming out with big rallies for the upcoming presidential election. “We are starting very very big rallies and everything because we cannot allow our country to become a socialist nation,” he said.
Trump also targeted China, saying that the US is going to defeat the ‘China virus’.
“We are producing powerful therapies and drugs, we are healing the sick and we are going to recover, and the vaccine is coming out very quickly in record time. We have great companies doing it and they will be distributing it, and we are going to throw our military very rapidly through the power of the American spirit. Science medicine will eradicate the China virus once and for all,” he added.
It was the first public event Trump has held since he was released from the hospital on Monday, when some observersing his return to the White House said he appeared at times to be short of breath.
The White House has released videos and Trump has called into television shows since then, but this was the public’s first chance to see the president live.
The White House has not released the results of Trump’s latest COVID-19 test and has declined to say when he last tested negative.
A White House spokeswoman said on Friday that Trump would be tested for COVID-19 and would not go out in public if it was determined he could still spread the virus.
Scott Atlas, the doctor advising Trump, declined to comment on Trump’s last test when approached by Reuters outside the event cordon. He was not wearing a mask.
Trump, who has campaigned on a law-and-order theme during recent months of sometimes violent protests for racial justice, told Saturday’s gathering that the Republican Party had the support of America’s police forces.
“We have law enforcementing,” he said. “We’re on the side of right.”
Trump’s efforts to portray himself as tough on crime have had little impact on his standing in national opinion polls, which show him trailing his Democratic challenger Joe Biden by double digits.
But the gap between the two candidates is narrower in the battleground states that may determine who wins the White House.
(With inputs from agencies