By JILL COLVIN and JONATHAN LEMIRE
SANFORD, Florida (AP) — Defiant as ever concerning the coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Monday turned his first marketing campaign rally since contracting COVID-19 right into a full-throated protection of his dealing with of the pandemic that has killed 215,000 People, joking that he was wholesome sufficient to plunge into the gang and provides voters “a big fat kiss.”
There was no social distancing and mask-wearing was spotty among the many hundreds who got here to see Trump’s return to Florida. He held forth for an hour, attempting to get his struggling marketing campaign again on observe with simply weeks left earlier than Election Day.
Although he was hospitalized battling the virus solely per week in the past, Trump’s message on COVID-19 was unaltered since his analysis: a doubtful evaluation that the pandemic was nearly a factor of the previous. A whole bunch of individuals within the U.S. proceed to die of the virus daily.
“Under my leadership, we’re delivering a safe vaccine and a rapid recovery like no one can even believe,” Trump insisted. “If you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered the way we have recovered.”
His voice was maybe a contact scratchy however in any other case, Trump was, nicely, Trump.
Boisterous and bellicose, he thanked the viewers for his or her well-wishes and declared he was not contagious as he launched into a frenetic remaining stretch of the marketing campaign.
Trump insisted that, after being given experimental medicine and different VIP therapy, he felt nice and was glad he not must be involved about an infection as a result of he’s now “immune.”
“I feel so powerful,” mentioned Trump, displaying no apparent indicators of lingering an infection. “I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women … everybody. I’ll just give ya a big fat kiss.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s high infectious-disease knowledgeable, mentioned Monday on CNN that those that recuperate from COVID-19 are prone to be immune for a restricted time frame, however there are circumstances rising of individuals getting reinfected weeks or months later.
Regardless of Trump’s battle with an endemic, it was putting how little had modified. Threats to smooch viewers members apart, the rally felt like so many others in the course of the pitched common election battle towards Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump returned to his many standard assault traces, slamming Democrats as “engaged and unhinged and out for vengeance,” and hyping “tremendous progress” on virus therapeutics. He promised the third-quarter financial system can be “record-setting” and claimed that, if he wins in November, “normal life” will resume, whereas Biden would delay the vaccine and destroy the financial system with a “draconian” lockdown.
And when he was executed, along with his new exit tune, The Village Individuals’s “YMCA,” blaring over the loudspeakers, the president did what has develop into his trademark dance, pumping his fists considerably in time to the beat as the gang roared. However he saved his distance from the viewers.
With three weeks to go earlier than the election, Trump is pushing to right a cussed deficit in nationwide and battleground state polling as he continues to unfold misinformation a few virus that he spent months downplaying.
That features in Florida, which is seen as essential to his reelection possibilities. Trump narrowly beat his 2016 rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, within the state by simply over 112,000 votes. Some current polls have instructed a detailed race within the state, whereas others have put Democrat Joe Biden forward.
Underscoring the significance of Florida, Trump will likely be again within the state Friday for one more rally, this time in Ocala.
Trump’s Sanford rally was his first cease in a busy week that may embody occasions in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin. The strong schedule highlights the urgency he’s dealing with to recuperate from a sequence of self-inflicted setbacks which have rattled his base of help and triggered alarm amongst Republicans who worry the White Home is on the verge of being misplaced to Biden.
And it comes amid still-unanswered questions concerning the influence a lot journey so quickly might have on the 74-year-old president’s well being. The development of COVID-19 is usually unpredictable, and there might be long-term issues.
After Air Power One lifted off from Joint Base Andrews, the president’s physician launched an replace on his well being that mentioned Trump had examined damaging for the virus — and had executed so on consecutive days. His physician, Navy Cmdr. Scott Conley, mentioned the assessments, taking at the side of different knowledge, together with viral load, have led him to conclude that Trump was not contagious.
For days, the White Home had sidestepped questions on whether or not Trump had examined damaging. Conley over the weekend mentioned that the president met Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention standards for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards,” Trump was not thought of a transmission threat.
There was no proof of any new well being precautions, though extra passengers than standard on Air Power One, together with U.S. Secret Service brokers and White Home chief of workers Mark Meadows, had been seen sporting masks on board.
Trump’s resolution to so shortly return to the marketing campaign path drew criticism from Biden and different Democrats.
“President Trump comes to Sanford today bringing nothing but reckless behavior, divisive rhetoric, and fear mongering,” Biden mentioned in an announcement. “But, equally dangerous is what he fails to bring: no plan to get this virus that has taken the lives of over 15,000 Floridians under control.”
Trump continued to mock Biden for his efforts to encourage social distancing at his marketing campaign occasions, deriding as “crazy” the circles Biden’s marketing campaign makes use of to delineate particular person house.
“He’s got a lot of bad days coming,” Trump mentioned at one other level.
Lemire reported from New York. Related Press author Curt Anderson in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.