Trump’s first public address since COVID-19 diagnosis had hallmarks of a campaign event at the White House

President Trump’s first public appearance since he announced his COVID-19 diagnosis appeared to be an unofficial rally at the White House. On Saturday, Mr. Trump addressed hundreds of supporters closely gathered and dressed in Trump campaign gear, repeating unfounded claims of election fraud, attacking Democratic leaders, and falsely claiming that Joe Biden is a socialist. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the event was an “official” event, and “the campaign is not involved in this.” Anyone in attendance was invited by the White House, Deere said.

While using the White House for a partisan political event is a violation of the Hatch Act, Deere insisted Saturday’s event had “no Hatch Act implications” because it was run by the White House and not the campaign. 

The Hatch Act does not apply to the president or vice president, but does apply to any other executive branch officials who are involved. The president has been accused of repeatedly ignoring the act, most recently during the Republican National Convention. 

“This is another example I think of the myriad ways in which Donald Trump breaks the rules, and over time, people stop getting agitated about it because he breaks the rules all the time,” Washington Post national correspondent Philip Bump told CBSN’s Lana Zak following the event. “Essentially, he is using taxpayer money to bolster his campaign.” 

The address was made from the balcony overlooking the South Lawn, where Candace Owens’ BLEXIT Foundation was hosting a pro-police rally. Mr. Trump specifically addressed the crowd, telling them their shirts are “beautiful” and that he wants to “put one of them on instead of this white shirt.”

“We have to have law and order,” Mr. Trump said. “I want to thank the BLEXIT Foundation for organizing this event, and especially your two founders, two friends of mine, great people Candace Owens and former Tucson police officer Brandon Tatum. Great job, what a great job. … Thank you very much for being here.” 

Owens tweeted on Saturday that the foundation helped pay for some attendees to travel to Washington, D.C. 

The address was listed on the official White House schedule as “remarks at a peaceful protest for law & order.” 

Virginia Representative Don Beyer, a Democrat, immediately criticized the president for the event, tweeting, “As Trump again uses the White House for a campaign speech, doubtless with the illegal use of taxpayer resources and funds, the Republican National Convention remains under investigation for Hatch Act violations.”

President Trump Delivers Speech To Supporters From White House Balcony
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 10: Supporters cheer as they wait for U.S. President Donald Trump to address a rally in support of law and order on the South Lawn of the White House on October 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump invited over two thousand guests to hear him speak just a week after he was hospitalized for COVID-19.

Samuel Corum / Getty Images

During the event, Mr. Trump continuously remarked on the election, telling attendees that “we got to vote these people into oblivion.” 

“Democrats have run nearly every

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Trump Holds Event at White House a Week After Coronavirus Diagnosis

new video loaded: Trump Holds Event at White House a Week After Coronavirus Diagnosis



Trump Holds Event at White House a Week After Coronavirus Diagnosis

President Trump said he was “feeling great” as he spoke from a balcony to several hundred supporters on the South Lawn of the White House in his first public event since testing positive for the virus.

“I’m feeling great. I don’t know about you, How’s everyone feeling? [cheers] Good? And I’m honored to welcome — we call this a ‘peaceful protest’ — to the White House, in support of the incredible men and women of law enforcement and all of the people that worked so well with us. And I have to tell you, our Black community, our Hispanic community: Thank you very much. But before going any further, I want to thank all of you for your prayers. I know you’ve been praying, and I was in that hospital. I was watching down over so many people. And I went out to say ‘Hello’ to those people, and I took a little heat for it, but I’d do it again, let me tell you, I’d do it again. And on behalf of myself and the first lady it just has been really an incredible outpouring.”

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Trump rallies supporters at White House in first event since COVID-19 diagnosis

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal judge shoots down Texas proclamation allowing one ballot drop-off location per county Nine people who attended Trump rally in Minnesota contracted coronavirus Schiff: If Trump wanted more infections ‘would he be doing anything different?’ MORE rallied his supporters at the White House on Saturday in the first public event he’s held since he was diagnosed with COVID-19. 

In an event the White House dubbed a “peaceful protest” on “law & order,” the president repeated some of his usual talking points in a speech that lasted just more than 15 minutes, touting his support for law enforcement and hammering Democrats for nationwide demonstrations over systemic racism and police brutality. 

“The homes and churches and businesses of Black and Hispanic Americans have been looted. You know that. They’ve been vandalized and burned by left-wing fanatics, total bad people. They know what they’re doing. Yet Biden likes to call them ‘peaceful protesters,’” he added, referring to Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFederal judge shoots down Texas proclamation allowing one ballot drop-off location per county Sanders endorses more than 150 down-ballot Democrats Debate commission cancels Oct. 15 Trump-Biden debate MORE

Trump has sought to woo Black and Hispanic voters away from Biden this election cycle. The former vice president has polled extremely well with Black Americans both in the Democratic primary and in the polls for the Nov. 3 election, though marginal decreases could impact his standing in some key swing states.

The speaking event was organized by conservative activist Candace Owens, who leads the BLEXIT movement and has centered her activism around pushing voters of color to leave the Democratic Party.

Trump has previously railed against nationwide unrest sparked after the police killing in late May of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The police killings of several other Black Americans, including Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., have added to nationwide calls for police reform and racial justice.

“Black and Latino Americans are rejecting the radical socialist left, and they’re embracing our pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-police — we want law and order; we have to have law and order — and pro-American agenda,” he said to cheers.

He has assailed Black Lives Matter as “an extreme socialist” movement and stood firmly with local police departments.

The president has looked to expand his appeal to people of color by touting record low unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic Americans before the coronavirus struck.

The president mentioned his Platinum Plan, which was unveiled last month and includes platforms such as making Juneteenth a federal holiday and prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization.

The plan will “bring back new jobs, like at a level that you’ve never seen before … increase capital, increase money coming into the Black community, into the Hispanic community,” Trump said Saturday.

Trump also promoted the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, boasting confidence that the country would effectively handle the health impacts of the virus and recover economic gains that were lost.

“I want

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Trump Hosts Hundreds in First White House Event Since COVID-19 Diagnosis

Donald Trump hosted hundreds of people outside the White House on Saturday for his first in-person event since contracting COVID-19—but his administration wouldn’t say whether he’s still infected with the virus.

“We gotta vote these people into oblivion,” Trump told the crowd of supporters in a brief 18-minute speech from a White House balcony, far shorter than his typical rally addresses.

The in-person event marked Trump’s return to the campaign spotlight after announcing his COVID-19 diagnosis on Oct. 2 and being hospitalized at Maryland’s Walter Reed hospital.

Trump appeared in several conservative media outlets, and plans to hold rallies in Florida on Monday, Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Iowa on Wednesday.

Earlier on Saturday, White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah refused to tell reporters whether Trump is virus-free.

The rally crowd was set back from the balcony where Trump appeared. Attendees had their temperatures checked and were told to wear masks, according to the White House. More than 2,000 people were reportedly invited to the event but fewer turned up.

The event was organized by right-wing personality Candace Owens and her Blexit group, which urges Black voters to “exit” the Democratic Party.

The White House dubbed the event a “peaceful protest for law & order.” Pro-Trump figures have recently adopted the “peaceful protest” terminology as a jab at Black Lives Matter protests held during the pandemic, claiming that MAGA “protests” are allowed in the face of COVID-19 restrictions on gathering size.

Trump mostly repeated his usual rally lines in his balcony appearance, touting the economy and warning that “we will never allow our country to become a socialist nation.” The crowd cheered, chanting “four more years” and “we love you.”

“I love you too,” Trump said, before turning back into the White House.

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White House rally: Trump holds first public event since Covid diagnosis

Image caption

Donald Trump took off his mask as he prepared to address his supporters on the lawn below

A maskless Donald Trump has delivered a speech in front of cheering supporters at the White House in his first public appearance since being hospitalised.

The event was officially a “peaceful protest” for law and order, but looked much like a Trump campaign rally.

The president, who says he is no longer taking medicines against Covid-19, told the crowd he was “feeling great”.

The White House has not provided an update on the president’s health since Thursday.

It is unclear whether the president remains contagious following his three-day hospital stay with Covid-19.

Joe Biden’s campaign said the Democratic candidate had tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday, ahead of a planned campaign trip to Pennsylvania.

What did Mr Trump say at the White House event?

Saturday’s White House gathering was partly organised by a foundation called “Blexit”, which aims to get black and Latino voters to support the Republican party.

The president railed against Mr Biden, describing the Democrat’s programme as “beyond socialism – Communist, that’s about right”. Mr Biden is generally considered to be a moderate Democrat.

Mr Trump repeated his previous assertion that he had done more for the black community than any president since Abraham Lincoln –
a claim the BBC has previously fact-checked

He also said a vaccine against coronavirus would be ready “very, very soon”, which is contrary to what the director of the US Centers for Disease Control told senators last month.

Polling suggests Mr Biden has a single-digit lead over Mr Trump and an ABC News/Ipsos poll found that just 35% of Americans approved of how Mr Trump has handled the coronavirus crisis.

However, US presidential elections are in practice determined in key states where both candidates stand a chance of winning, rather than by the total number of votes won, as Hillary Clinton found to her cost in 2016.

The president says he is planning to attend a “big rally” in Florida – a battleground state in next month’s presidential election – on Monday.

What is the latest on the president’s health?

Mr Trump told Fox News that he was feeling “really, really strong” and was no longer on medication, having had his “final doses of just about everything”.

On Thursday
the president’s doctor Sean Conley said that it would be safe for him to return to public engagements on Saturday
[10 October] as that would mark “day 10” since his diagnosis on Thursday 1 October.

Following his diagnosis, Mr Trump spent three nights in hospital and was treated with the steroid dexamethasone, the antiviral drug remdesivir and a cocktail of manufactured antibodies made by the company Regeneron.

CDC recommends self-isolation for at least 10 days after coronavirus symptoms first appear
, with more severe illness, such as that requiring hospital treatment, potentially needing up to 20 days.

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Trump planning to host 1st in-person event since diagnosis at White House on Saturday: Sources

ABC News Corona Virus Government. Response

His doctor said the president can hold “public engagements” starting Saturday.

The event will feature “remarks to peaceful protesters for law and order” by the president, according to an invite obtained by ABC News and confirmed by two White House sources familiar with the planning.

The gathering is scheduled to take place on the South Lawn of the White House in conjunction with a previously planned event organized by controversial conservative activist Candace Owens’ group Blexit, a campaign to urge Black Americans to leave the Democratic Party, sources said.

Trump according to a source is expected to address the crowd from the balcony of the White House.

With just days separating the president from his stay at Walter Reed Medical Center, experts fear this type of event threatens to exacerbate the crisis already engulfing the White House and further spread the disease. On Wednesday, ABC News reported that the coronavirus outbreak had infected “34 White House staffers and other contacts” in recent days, citing an internal government memo.

“All attendees must bring a mask with them and will be instructed to wear it on the White House Complex,” a source familiar with the planning of the event told ABC News. “All attendees must submit to a Covid-19 screening tomorrow morning. This will consist of a temperature check and a brief questionnaire. The health and safety of all attendees is our priority and following CDC guidelines is strongly encouraged.”

PHOTO: This invitation to a White House event scheduled for October 10 was obtained by ABC News.

This invitation to a White House event scheduled for October 10 was obtained by ABC News.

“The Trump administration continues to have disregard for the science,” said Dr. Jay Bhatt, an ABC News contributor and practicing internist. “This statement is premature given that we don’t know what will happen between now and Saturday given that symptoms can pop at any time. He put many people at risk and we saw the aftermath. This can’t happen again.”

The Trump campaign also announced a rally on Monday night in Sanford, Florida. On Twitter, the president referred to it as “a very BIG RALLY!”

The Biden camp quickly responded to the news, with Mike Gwin, Biden’s deputy direct response coordinator, saying in a statement, “Donald Trump seems to be living in an alternate reality where he isn’t sick and contagious with COVID-19 and where he didn’t just hold what Dr. Fauci himself described as a super-spreader event at the White House that likely infected dozens more. This decision is stunningly reckless and irresponsible, and it’s only the latest evidence that Trump has waved the white flag of defeat against this virus

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Trump to hold first White House event after coronavirus diagnosis

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE plans to hold an in-person event at the White House on Saturday, two officials confirmed to The Hill, his first public engagement since being diagnosed with the coronavirus last week.

One White House official said that Trump will deliver remarks from the Blue Room Balcony to guests on the South Lawn, suggesting he will not be in close proximity to any of those in attendance.

The event is being coordinated with one organized by conservative activist Candace Owens and Trump’s remarks are expected to focus on “law and order,” according to ABC News, which first reported the plans.

A source with knowledge of the planning of Owens’ group said that all attendees would be required to bring a mask with them to the event and instructed to wear it while on the White House complex. Guests will also be required to submit to a coronavirus screening, meaning a temperature check and questionnaire.

“The health and safety of all attendees is our priority and following CDC guidelines is strongly encouraged,” the person said.

White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo Thursday that Trump would be able to make a “safe return” to public events by Saturday, which marks 10 days since Trump’s diagnosis, and that he has responded “extremely well” to his treatment for COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that patients self-isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms from the coronavirus. Trump was diagnosed with the virus last Thursday night and was treated with the antiviral medication remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone and an experimental antibody cocktail.

Some health experts have expressed skepticism with plans to allow Trump to return to public engagements so soon, noting that those with severe symptoms are told to isolate for longer, up to 20 days, and that there remains a risk that his symptoms could return or worsen. The White House has not said yet whether Trump has tested negative for the virus.

“Given the lack of transparency on his health … it’s difficult to say whether the president’s case is moderate or severe. Certainly, he was given all the treatments that one would expect for a severe course,” said Anand Parekh, chief medical adviser for the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Trump has been eager to get back to work and campaigning, with the election less than four weeks away. He worked from the Oval Office for three days straight this week, after being hospitalized for treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over the weekend. White House officials say they have increased the use of personal protective gear for those coming in contact with Trump and kept the traffic through the Oval Office extremely limited.

Trump indicated Thursday evening in a phone interview with

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White House, a coronavirus hot spot, is cold on contact tracing despite Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis

a man holding a sign: Wearing protective suits, masks and gloves, demonstrators call attention to the outbreak of coronavirus in the White House. Photo: AP

© AP
Wearing protective suits, masks and gloves, demonstrators call attention to the outbreak of coronavirus in the White House. Photo: AP

The Trump administration’s resistance to contact tracing since the president tested positive for Covid-19 reflects a calculation that there’s little political upside in highlighting this close to the election the number of people at the pinnacle of US power potentially exposed to the virus by him, say health experts and political analysts.

Masks and contact tracing – used effectively in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and elsewhere – are proven tools in breaking the chain of infection in lieu of a vaccine, medical experts say. But their success can depend on many other factors.

Public health experts have traditionally focused on the profile of the virus and therapies to combat it.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

“But it turns out the most important thing in fighting it seems to be effective political leadership, and in the US we don’t have that,” said Ronald Waldman, a global health professor at George Washington University and former investigator at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “If your primary priority is getting elected, that’s great for the virus.”

Analysts say President Donald Trump and aides appears to have concluded that robust tracing of hundreds, even thousands, placed at risk by his inner circle would only spotlight the virulence of a disease he has repeatedly downplayed, claimed would disappear or decried as a hoax.

It also could highlight his controversial policies and behaviour, and the particular vulnerability of top Republicans central to his legacy and re-election effort, they add, hardly a good look for a president losing support in the polls.

“From the White House point of view, it probably doesn’t make sense to pursue contact tracing,” said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll. “A stricter testing regime risks showing second- and third-order infections. That’s not something you want to expose.”

Who in Trump’s orbit tested positive for coronavirus

But the president’s doctors’ and spin doctors’ apparent disregard for the basics of crisis management – disclose bad news fast and fully – has have been badly undercut by a drumbeat of daily headlines detailing new infections and quarantines hitting the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, presidential press corps and Secret Service.

Among the latest, the US Marine Corps’ No 2 general, Gary Thomas, said on Thursday that he had tested positive after huddling with top military leaders a week earlier.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Recent news is ensuring that public attention remains focused on President Donald Trump's management of the pandemic until the November 3 election. Photo: Abaca Press/TNS

© Provided by South China Morning Post
Recent news is ensuring that public attention remains focused on President Donald Trump’s management of the pandemic until the November 3 election. Photo: Abaca Press/TNS

This drip drip of news not only ensures that public attention remains intently focused on Trump’s management of the disease until the November 3 election. It also hampers the ability of top advisers to carry out policy or craft damage control as

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White House prepares for Trump to return to Oval Office after coronavirus diagnosis

Washington — In the wake of President Trump’s discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center early this week, the White House is making preparations for the president to return to work in the Oval Office as early as Wednesday, just days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday that Mr. Trump had wanted to be in the Oval Office on Tuesday, and safety preparations are underway in the event he moves from the residence to the West Wing.

“He continues to work,” Meadows said. “We’ve got a number of safety protocols with full PPE, masks, goggles and the like for any direct interaction with the president in those areas.”

Meadow added that ventilation is also being addressed for when the president returns to the West Wing. The president is expected to return to the Oval Office as soon as Wednesday, senior administration officials said, and so-called “isolation carts” with personal protective equipment are being set up with gowns, masks, and goggles. Staff are expected to wear them if they are going to come within six feet of the president.

Officials also said the president recorded a video inside the White House on Tuesday that has yet to be released, but could come out later in the day.

The White House had been exploring the use of the Diplomatic Reception Room and Map Room for Mr. Trump to work and make television appearances, a senior administration official told CBS News on Tuesday. Both rooms are on the ground floor of the residence and close to the White House Medical Unit.

Mr. Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 late Thursday after one of the president’s closest aides, Hope Hicks, contracted the virus last week. Since then, more than a dozen people close to the president, including a number of White House aides and three GOP senators, have tested positive for the coronavirus. Among those who have been diagnosed COVID-19 and were in close contact with Mr. Trump are press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, senior adviser Stephen Miller, personal aide Nick Luna and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.

The president was admitted to Walter Reed in Maryland on Friday after he experienced a high fever and a drop in his oxygen saturation level. He received supplemental oxygen for roughly an hour before being transferred to Walter Reed, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said Saturday. 

In the course of his treatment, Mr. Trump was given a dose of dexamethasone, a steroid, and received remdesivir, the fifth and final dose of which he received Tuesday. The president was discharged from Walter Reed on Monday evening.

“The president continues to work, he’s in very good health,” Meadows said. “We’re pleased with his progress.”

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states a person with mild to moderate coronavirus symptoms may be infectious for up to 10 days after the onset of symptoms. A small fraction of patients with severe

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White House releases new coronavirus precautions for residence staff amid President Trump’s diagnosis

The White House on Tuesday released updated safety precautions for staff at the executive residence after President Trump’s announcement last week that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marty Makary grades the president's recovery on 'Bill Hemmer Reports'

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marty Makary grades the president’s recovery on ‘Bill Hemmer Reports’

In a press release, the White House said it has hired independent health consultants who are available to check on staff and their families, while “facilitating ancillary testing as needed.”

The White House also said it has hired a “well-being” consultant for staff members to speak to regarding mental health concerns.”

“The health and safety of the residence staff is of the utmost importance to the First Family,” the White House said.

Staff are wearing personal protective equipment, and are taking all necessary precautions, including updated procedures to protect against cross-contamination.


President Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump were in quarantine at the White House after each tested positive for the coronavirus. The couple had undergone testing after learning that senior White House adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus. Hicks had recently accompanied the president on several trips, including Cleveland for the first debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

After being treated for three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, President Trump returned to the White House Monday night. He tweeted Tuesday morning that he is planning to attend next week’s debate with Biden in Miami.

The president’s diagnosis has fueled speculation over the White House’s policy with keeping its staff safe during the pandemic.

The White House maintains that since March, it has adopted hospital-grade disinfection policies, had medical teams lead coronavirus workshops, significantly reduced staff, and encourage maximum teleworking.


In March, the White House provided sanitization and filtration systems to every employee for use in their homes to protect them and their family members. And since April, all staff members have been required to wear masks at all times, the White House said.

White House releases new coronavirus precautions for residence staff amid President Trump’s diagnosis



The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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