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 Resumes Public Events With Mini-Rally on White House Lawn

(Bloomberg) —

President Donald Trump made his first public appearance on Saturday since returning from a three-day coronavirus hospitalization, telling supporters at the White House that “through the power of American science and medicine, we will eradicate the China Virus once and for all.”

“I want to thank you all for the prayers,” Trump said from a White House balcony at hundreds of invited guests at a campaign-style event on the South Lawn. Trump arrived wearing a mask and removed it before speaking.

Trump’s comments touched on several of his usual stump-speech topics, including suggestions of voter fraud. The remarks ran for about 18 minutes, much shorter than Trump’s typical freewheeling campaign speeches.

The appearance was designed to show the president — who declared he’s “feeling great” — has recovered from Covid-19 and is ready to resume work and his race against Democratic nominee Joe Biden. But the president appeared without certification from his doctors that he’s no longer contagious with the deadly virus, and despite the White House not releasing a formal update on his recovery since Thursday.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: President Trump Delivers Address On Law And Order At White House


© Bloomberg
President Trump Delivers Address On Law And Order At White House

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while arriving to speak from the Truman Balcony of the White House on Oct. 10.

Photographer: Erin Scott/Bloomberg

Still, the president sat for at least three hours of radio and remote television interviews with conservative media personalities on Friday, and is expected to resume a heavy campaign travel schedule this week with rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa. Trump has been itching to return to public events following his battle with the coronavirus, aides say — an impatience only heightened by the president falling further behind Biden in polls.

Saturday’s event risked deepening concern among voters about Trump’s handling of a pandemic that has left more than two dozen of his close associates infected and more than 210,000 Americans dead.

After the president’s last outdoor event — a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony to announce his pick of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court — at least 11 attendees tested positive for coronavirus. While the White House had a testing regime in place to screen for virus cases, few guests wore masks and attendees mingled and sat in close proximity to one another both indoors and outdoors.

Trump’s physician said Wednesday that the president had been free of symptoms for the previous 24 hours. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump “will be clear to go” on Saturday, when “he wants to talk to the American people.” There are medical tests underway to ensure he doesn’t transmit the virus when he returns to the campaign trail, she said on Fox News, adding that she’d conferred with White House doctor Sean Conley. McEnany, who herself has tested positive for Covid-19, is working remotely.

Virus Screening

On Saturday, White House guests were required to bring masks with them and wear them on the grounds, a person familiar with the matter said, adding

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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.

The
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 to return to public events with ‘law and order’ address at White House

Defiant in the face of slipping opinion polls, and determined to justify his implausible claim of a full recovery from his encounter with Covid-19, Donald Trump will return to public events on Saturday with a “law and order” address to 2,000 invited guests from the White House balcony.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Related: ‘A surreal reality show’: Trump’s terrible week after his Covid diagnosis

Questions about the president’s health are still swirling following the refusal of doctors or aides to reveal when Trump last tested negative for coronavirus, and today’s lunchtime in-person event – just six days after he left Walter Reed medical center following a three-night stay – appears to counter his own government’s health guidelines over large gatherings and social distancing.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Donald Trump walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC, on 1 October.


© Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC, on 1 October.

But after another tumultuous week in which Trump lost further ground to his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, and with the 3 November general election little more than three weeks away, the president is seizing an opportunity to try to reposition himself in the race, despite the apparent health risk to attendees from a man likely to still be contagious.

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In a Friday night interview on Fox News, Trump, who was given a cocktail of antiviral drugs and strong steroids during his hospital stay, insisted he was “medication-free”.

“We pretty much finished, and now we’ll see how things go. But pretty much nothing,” Trump said when Fox medical analyst Dr Marc Siegel asked the president what medications he was still taking.

Earlier in the day, Dr Sean Conley, Trump’s personal physician, issued a letter clearing the president to return to in-person campaign events, but omitting any medical justification, including crucial information about any negative coronavirus tests.

In the Friday interview, Trump said he had been tested, but gave a vague answer about it. “I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet,” he said. “But I’ve been retested and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.”

Trump’s speech today at the White House South Lawn will address “law and order” and protests around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd and racial issues, sources revealed on Friday.

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Trump holds first public event at White House since testing positive for COVID-19 – watch live stream today

President Trump is scheduled to hold his first public event since testing positive for COVID-19 a little over a week ago. He plans to speak from the South Lawn balcony on Saturday about “law and order,” in what the White House is calling a “peaceful protest” expected to draw hundreds of people.

Mr. Trump’s address comes two weeks after the president nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden, a ceremony that Dr. Anthony Fauci described as a “super spreader” event. Several White House officials, including the president, tested positive for the virus after the ceremony, as well as some senators and other guests.


How to watch President Trump’s speech Saturday

  • What: President Trump delivers his first in-person address since testing positive for COVID-19
  • Date: Saturday, October 10, 2020
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • Location: South Lawn, White House, Washington, D.C.
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN in the player above or on your mobile streaming device.

The event is coordinated with Candace Owens’ Blexit group and will be attended by conservative activists.

A source familiar with planning for the event told CBS News that 2,000 invitations had been issued. All attendees are required to bring a mask and will be instructed to wear it on the White House complex. All attendees must also complete a COVID-19 screening, consisting of a temperature check and brief questionnaire. 

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS News’ Steven Portnoy on Friday that the event at the White House two weeks ago shows how important it is to wear a mask.

“I think the — the data speaks for themselves,” Fauci said of mask-wearing. “We had a super-spreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”

Mr. Trump plans to resume campaign travel on Monday, 10 days after he announced his COVID-19 diagnosis. He tweeted that he’ll be in Sanford, Florida, for a “very BIG RALLY” on Monday.

Fin Gomez and Nicole Sganga contributed to this report.

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White House Blocked C.D.C. From Mandating Masks on Public Transit

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials.

The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.

The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes, trains, buses and subways, and in transit hubs such as airports, train stations and bus depots.

A task force official said the decision to require masks should be left up to states and localities. The administration requires the task force to sign off on coronavirus-related policies.

“The approach the task force has taken with any mask mandate is, the response in New York City is different than Montana, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” said the official who asked not to be identified because he did not have permission to discuss the matter. “Local and state authorities need to determine the best approach for their responsive effort depending on how the coronavirus is impacting their area.”

The thwarting of the mask rule is the latest in a number of C.D.C. actions stalled or changed by the White House. Late last month, the coronavirus task force overruled the C.D.C. director’s order to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February. That plan was opposed by the tourism industry in Florida, an important swing state in the presidential election. Political appointees at the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services have also been involved in rewriting the agency’s guidelines on reopening schools and testing for the virus, bypassing the agency’s scientists.

Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and chairman of the House committee on transportation and infrastructure, criticized Mr. Trump for ignoring public health experts from his own administration on the mask issue.

“It’s especially outrageous because the science is so clear: masks save lives,” Mr. DeFazio said. “The millions of Americans who work in and use our transportation systems every day — from bus drivers, train conductors and flight attendants, to the frontline workers who rely on public transit — deserve to know their president is relying on experts’ best advice and doing everything possible to keep them safe.”

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Trump to Resume Public Events Starting Saturday at White House

(Bloomberg) —

President Donald Trump will make his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.

In a Saturday address from a White House balcony before hundreds of invited guests, Trump will seek to show that he has made a strong recovery from coronavirus and is ready to resume work and re-enter the re-election race against Democratic nominee and front-runner Joe Biden.

The event kicks off what could be a full week of campaign travel for the president, starting Monday with a stop in central Florida for a rally at the Orlando Sanford International Airport to make up for one canceled when Trump fell ill.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump Arrives Back At White House After Stay At Walter Reed Medical Center For Covid


© Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images North America
President Trump Arrives Back At White House After Stay At Walter Reed Medical Center For Covid

Donald Trump stands on the Truman Balcony on Oct. 5.

Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Trump has been itching to return to public events following his battle with the coronavirus, aides say — an impatience only heightened by the president falling further behind Biden in polls.

The White House event comes at the earliest moment doctors said the president would be able to return to public life. The gathering risks deepening concern among voters about Trump’s handling of a pandemic that has left more than two dozen of his close associates infected and more than 210,000 Americans dead.

After the president’s last outdoor event — a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony to announce his pick of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court — at least 11 attendees tested positive for coronavirus. While the White House had a testing regime in place to screen for virus cases, few guests wore masks and attendees mingled and sat in close proximity to one another both indoors and outdoors.

Trump’s physician said Wednesday that the president had been free of symptoms for the previous 24 hours. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump “will be clear to go” on Saturday, when “he wants to talk to the American people.” There are medical tests underway to ensure he doesn’t transmit the virus when he returns to the campaign trail, she said on Fox News, adding that she’d conferred with White House doctor Sean Conley. McEnany, who herself has tested positive for Covid-19, is working remotely.

Virus Screening

On Saturday, White House guests must bring masks with them and wear them on the grounds, a person familiar with the matter said, adding that they also have to undergo a Covid-19 screening on Saturday morning that will include a temperature check and a brief questionnaire. But those rules were put in place not by the White House but by the organizer of the event, the Blexit group, led by Candace Owens, a Trump ally, the person said.

Video: Mike Pence Attends 2 Superspreader Events Ahead of Debate (Inside Edition)

Mike Pence Attends 2 Superspreader Events

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Trump to hold public event at the White House on Saturday

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected to hold his first official public event since his coronavirus diagnosis at the White House on Saturday, five days after being discharged from the hospital.

The event on the White House South Lawn is expected to feature remarks on law and order, a White House official said. Trump is expected to appear at the event from a White House balcony, the same one where he took off his mask and saluted Monday night when he arrived home from the Walter Reed Medical Center.

Those involved in the event include conservative activist Candace Owens and the group “Blexit,” which aims to get black voters to leave the Democratic Party. The news was first reported by ABC News.

Trump, who has claimed he is cured of the coronavirus, has said he is eager to get back out on the campaign trail, and said Thursday that he was considering having a rally in Florida on Saturday. People familiar with the planning say it’s unlikely the president will be traveling for rallies this weekend, but cautioned that things could change.

His campaign also announced Friday that he would travel to Florida for a campaign event Monday night.

Also on Friday, Minnesota health officials announced that nine people with the virus who attended a Sept. 18 Trump rally in Bemidji and are monitoring for potential cases from a rally in Duluth nearly two weeks later.

The White House has released a series of recorded videos of Trump since he tested positive for the virus, and he has given multiple telephone interviews, including spending nearly two hours on the phone with Rush Limbaugh’s radio show Friday. But Saturday’s event would be his first formal appearance at a White House function since his diagnosis.

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Trump will speak at a public event at the White House; it is not clear if he’s still contagious with coronavirus

But Trump has brushed aside his advisers’ calls for caution, instead embracing a political strategy built on playing down the virus and using his own battle with it to argue that the nation has already overcome the pandemic.

“People are going to get immediately better like I did. I mean, I feel better now than I did two weeks ago. It’s crazy,” Trump told Rush Limbaugh on his talk radio show Friday, a day when more than 850 Americans died of the coronavirus. “And I recovered immediately, almost immediately. I might not have recovered at all from covid.”

Isolated in the White House for a fifth straight day as his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, campaigned in Nevada, Trump spent several hours Friday venting to friendly media hosts and plotting his swift return to the campaign trail even as the status of his coronavirus infection remained unclear.

As the president prepared to participate in a televised medical evaluation on Fox News on Friday evening, his aides began to plan for what they described as a triumphant return to campaigning in the wake of his diagnosis and four-day hospitalization.

Trump’s campaign announced that he would lead a rally in Florida on Monday at an airport hangar, similar to the events he had been doing before his diagnosis. There was no indication that extra safety precautions would be in place or that social distancing would be encouraged.

“All attendees will be given a temperature check, masks which they are encouraged to wear and access to hand sanitizer,” the campaign said, using language similar to previous announcements before events where few attendees wore masks.

While Trump’s doctor said Thursday that he expected the president to be able to resume his public engagements as early as Saturday, the White House did not provide evidence Friday that Trump had received a negative test for the coronavirus.

That did not stop Trump from claiming to be cured and working as normal from the Oval Office, where an official said he spent Friday afternoon. Trump has been eager to escape the confines of the White House and return to his crowded rallies with the election just over three weeks away.

A week after he was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with serious symptoms of covid-19, Trump and his campaign have embraced an it’s-not-that-bad messaging strategy about a virus that has killed more than 213,000 Americans.

The president has claimed to be immune, called his infection with the virus a “blessing from God” and falsely claimed that a cure exists for a disease that continues to kill thousands of Americans each week. His campaign has continued to hold large indoor events with surrogates, shunning social distancing. It has made little effort to engage in contact tracing after dozens of White House officials and campaign surrogates contracted the disease.

Trump’s event Saturday is scheduled to take place not far from the location of a Sept. 26 celebration now considered a superspreader event by public health officials after

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White House Blocked C.D.C. From Requiring Masks on Public Transportation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials.

The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.

The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes, trains, buses and subways, and in transit hubs such as airports, train stations and bus depots.

A task force official said the decision to require masks should be left up to states and localities. The administration requires the task force to sign off on coronavirus-related policies.

“The approach the task force has taken with any mask mandate is, the response in New York City is different than Montana, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” said the official who asked not to be identified because he did not have permission to discuss the matter. “Local and state authorities need to determine the best approach for their responsive effort depending on how the coronavirus is impacting their area.”

Most public health officials believe that wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to protect against the spread of the virus, particularly in crowded, poorly ventilated public places that attract people from all over, like transportation venues. Many feel that the Trump administration has turned the wearing — or not wearing — of masks into a political expression, as seen most dramatically on Monday evening when President Trump whipped off his surgical mask at the White House door after returning from the hospital where he was treated for Covid-19.

“I think masks are the most powerful weapon we have to confront Covid and we all need to embrace masks and set the example for each other,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C. director, who oversaw the drafting of the order, said in a recent interview.

Dr. Redfield has been publicly at odds with President Trump for promoting mask wearing along with social distancing, and for warning that a vaccine for the virus won’t be widely available until next year.

The thwarting of the mask rule is the latest in a number of C.D.C. actions stalled or changed by the White House. Late last month, the coronavirus task force overruled the C.D.C. director’s order to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February. That plan was opposed by the tourism industry in Florida, an important swing state in the presidential election. Political appointees at the White House and

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