WASHINGTON – Looking to shove his campaign back on track, President Donald Trump and his team laid out an aggressive return to political activities on Friday, including a big Saturday White House event and a rally in Florida on Monday, a week after his hospitalization for the coronavirus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.
As questions linger about his health — and Democratic opponent Joe Biden steps up his own campaigning — Trump is planning to leave Washington for the first time since he announced his diagnosis. He is also increasing his radio and TV appearances with conservative interviewers, hoping to make up for lost time with just over three weeks until Election Day and millions already voting.
The president has not been seen in public — other than in White House-produced videos — since his return days ago from the military hospital where he received experimental treatments for the virus.
Two weeks after his Rose Garden event that has been labeled a “super-spreader” for the virus, Trump is planning to convene another large crowd outside the White House on Saturday on his law-and-order theme. More than two dozen people linked to the White House have contracted COVID-19 since the president’s Sept. 26 event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court.
Trump will address the group, expected to be at least several hundred supporters, from the White House balcony, according to an official. A person with knowledge of the planning said all attendees must bring masks or will be provided with them, and also will be given temperature checks and asked to fill out a brief questionnaire. Following CDC guidelines will be strongly encouraged, which mask-wearing and social distancing.
Trump’s Monday rally in Sanford, Florida, was originally scheduled to be held on Oct. 2, the day after he tested positive.
Announcement of the event came as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, cautioned the White House again to avoid large-scale gatherings of people without masks.
“I was not surprised to see a super-spreader event given the circumstances,” he said of the Barrett gathering.