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.”
“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