Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

Trump speaks from White House in first public event since COVID-19 diagnosis

President Trump said during a Saturday rally on the South Lawn of the White House that the coronavirus "is going to disappear."

Why it matters: The rally with 300 to 400 attendees was the president's first public event since he contracted the coronavirus, and included conservative activist Candace Owens and the group “Blexit,” which seeks to convince Black voters to join the Republican Party.

Between the lines: Though Judd Deere, a spokesperson for the White House, told reporters before the event that the gathering was unrelated to the president's reelection efforts, Trump's Saturday speech featured remarks he often makes on the campaign trail.

  • The speech was roughly 18 minutes, which is uncharacteristically short for the president, and Trump described the event as a peaceful protest.

What he's saying: "I'm feeling great," the president said. "We're starting very big with our rallies … because we cannot allow our country to become a socialist country."

  • "Through the power of the American spirit, I think more than anything else, science, medicine will eradicate the China virus once and for all," he added from the Blue Room Balcony.
  • "We'll get rid of it all over the world. See big flare-ups in Europe, flare-up in Canada. You saw that today. A lot of flare-ups. It is going to disappear. It is disappearing and the vaccines are going to help and the therapeutics are going to help a lot."

The other side: "Good luck," Joe Biden said of the event. "I wouldn't show up unless you had a mask and were distanced."

Reality check: Though Trump acknowledged "flare-ups" in Canada and Europe, he did not comment on the status of the pandemic the U.S.

  • The U.S. on Friday reported over 57,000 new coronavirus cases, marking the third consecutive day of more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases nationwide, per data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: Multiple people, including Republican senators and political aides to the president, tested positive for the virus after they attended the last major public event at the White House — the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26.

  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci described the Rose Garden gathering as "a superspreader event."

What's next: The president has a planned campaign rally on Monday in Florida.

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