Trump insists he’s ready to resume rallies; physician says therapy done

U.S. President Donald Trump salutes Marine One helicopter pilots on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020.

Ken Cedeno | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that he is ready to resume campaign rallies and feels “perfect” one week after his diagnosis with the coronavirus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans, as his doctor said the president had “completed his course of therapy” for the disease.

The president has not been seen in public — other than in White House-produced videos — since his Monday return from the military hospital where he received experimental treatments for the virus. On Thursday, his physician, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said in a memo that Trump would be able to safely “return to public engagements” on Saturday, as the president tries to shift his focus to the election that’s less than four weeks away, with millions of Americans already casting ballots.

While Trump said he believes he’s no longer contagious, concerns about infection appeared to scuttle plans for next week’s presidential debate.

“I’m feeling good. Really good. I think perfect,” Trump said during a telephone interview with Fox Business, his first since he was released from a three-day hospital stay Monday. “I think I’m better to the point where I’d love to do a rally tonight,” Trump said. He added, “I don’t think I’m contagious at all.”

In a Fox News interview Thursday night, Trump said he wanted to hold a rally in Florida on Saturday “if we have enough time to put it together.” He said he might also hold a rally the following night in Pennsylvania. “I feel so good,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says individuals can discontinue isolation 10 days after the onset of symptoms, which for Trump was Oct. 1, according to his doctors. Conley said that meant Trump, who has been surrounded by minimal staffing as he works out of the White House residence and the Oval Office, could return to holding events on Saturday.

He added that Trump was showing no evidence of his illness progressing or adverse reactions to the aggressive course of therapy prescribed by his doctors.

Earlier this week, the president’s doctors suggested they would work closely with military medical research facilities and other laboratories on “advanced diagnostic testing” to determine when the president was no longer contagious, but did not elaborate.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said two negative PCR lab tests 24 hours apart are a key factor in determining whether someone is still contagious.

“So, if the president goes 10 days without symptoms, and they do the tests that we were talking about, then you could make the assumption, based on good science, that he is not infected,” Fauci said Thursday on MSNBC.

While reports of reinfection are rare, the CDC recommends that even people who recover from Covid-19 continue to wear a mask, stay distanced and

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Pressure mounts on Trump to clearly condemn white supremacy. The White House insists he already has

Trump has yet to offer that kind of condemnation since GOP senators weighed in after Tuesday’s presidential debate.

And while the White House insisted that he has been repeatedly clear on the subject both before and after, he did not stop to take the opportunity to speak with reporters as he departed the White House Thursday, as he typically does, including as recently as Wednesday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked several times Thursday whether the president unambiguously denounces white supremacists, repeatedly avoided offering a simple declarative repudiation.

Pressed by Fox News’ John Roberts in the first exchange of Thursday’s White House briefing if she could “right now” denounce white supremacy on behalf of the president, McEnany instead argued the president has been “entirely consistent” and that his “record is unmistakable,” arguing he had done so when asked at the debate.

“If I could start off,” Roberts said, “I would like to ask you for a definitive and declarative statement without ambiguity or deflection. As the person who speaks for the president, does the president denounce white supremacism and groups that espouse it, in all their forms?”

“This was answered by the president himself. He said ‘sure’ three times,” Mcenany replied. “Yesterday, he was point blank asked, ‘Do you denounce white supremacy?’ and he said ‘I’ve always denounced any form of that,'” she said, reading from a transcript, reciting an exchange in which Trump did not use the term “white supremacy” himself.

There’s a well-established pattern of Trump showing a reluctance to disavow radical and racist groups and ideologies dating back to before he took office.

Asked again by Roberts if she would offer a simple declarative condemnation on behalf of the president to clear up lingering confusion left by his comments, McEnany claimed she had already done so.

“I just did. The president has denounced it repeatedly. The president was asked this. You are contriving a story line and narrative.”

After Roberts, other reporters continued to press for an unambiguous condemnation — McEnany stood by her position.

One reporter challenged McEnany, saying the president had a mixed record on the issue.

“His record is not mixed in the slightest. When you go back in history you can

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