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Trump to appear at White House event, first since returning from Walter Reed

President Trump on Saturday will hold his first public event since testing positive for coronavirus, delivering remarks from a White House balcony to group of supporters on a law and order theme.

Trump tested positive Oct. 1 and was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with serious symptoms the next day. He returned to the White House on Monday, and has since made a number of virtual appearances on TV and radio, and in videos.

On Saturday afternoon, Trump will speak at what his campaign has described as a “peaceful protest for law & order.” At least several hundred supporters are expected to attend, gathered on the South Lawn.

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The event is likely to be scrutinized over whether it adheres to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. It is set to take place near the location of the Sept. 26 celebration for Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, now considered a “superspreader” event after a number of attendees tested postive.

Attendees for the balcony speech will be required to bring masks to the event, or will be given one, and will also fill out a health questionnaire and have their temperatures checked. They will be encouraged to follow CDC guidelines, including wearing masks and keeping social distance.

In Washington, D.C., restrictions prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people and masks are mandatory — but such rules do not apply on federal land.

The event is in line with one of Trump’s central messages to voters — that he is a law and order candidate who will protect police and restore order in cities and elsewhere, where there have been riots and a rise in violent crime.

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He has attempted to paint Democratic opponent Joe Biden as beholden to calls to defund police coming from the far left of the party — a claim denied by Biden, who has instead accused Trump of pulling resources away from police.

Saturday’s event marks the beginning of a return to public events for Trump, with Election Day now just over three weeks away. Trump plans to follow the White House event with a Monday rally in Florida that had been scheduled for last week.

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However, not everything is back on schedule. A debate Thursday between Trump and Biden was canceled after the Commission on Presidential Debates said it would shift to a virtual format — a proposal Trump described as a “waste of time.”

Both candidates have agreed to participate at an Oct. 22 debate in-person at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., the commission said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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