President Donald Trump called the coronavirus pandemic a ‘lovefest’ and proclaimed that he was newly ‘immune,’ threatening to kiss members of his Florida rally crowd.
‘One thing with me, the nice part: I went through it, now they say I’m immune,’ Trump said Monday night at the Orlando Sanford International Airport. ‘I feel so powerful, 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, everyone, I’ll just give you a big fat kiss.’
The president was marking his official return to the campaign trail after his battle fighting the coronavirus, tossing masks out to the crowd as he walked onstage.
‘It’s great to be back in my home state Florida to make my official return to the campaign trail,’ he told a crowd of mostly mask-less supporters. ‘I was so energized by your prayers and humbled by your support.’
President Donald Trump proclaimed that he was ‘immune’ from getting the coronavirus again and told supporters he would come into the audience and kiss them at his Monday night Florida rally
President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail Monday after his battle with COVID-19 hosting a packed rally at the Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida, his adopted ‘home state’
President Donald Trump got onstage and threw some face masks out to the crowd, while many of his supporters refused to wear them to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
Mask-less Trump supporters attend a rally with the president Monday outside of Orlando, Florida, the president’s first since his battle with COVID-19
President Donald Trump’s supporters cheer as he arrives in Air Force One Monday to the Orlando Sanford International Airport
The president again pledged to give Americans en masse the ‘cure’ of drugs he was administered during his hospitalization for COVID-19.
‘We are going to take whatever the hell they gave me and we are going to distribute it around to hospitals and everyone’s going to have the same damn thing,’ Trump told his crowd.
He thanked the professionals at Walter Reed Medical Center and John Hopkins, the team of doctors who treated him.
‘I have such respect for the people in this country the way they’ve handled it, it’s been an incredible lovefest together,’ Trump told the crowd. ‘That’s really what it’s been.’
‘And sympathies from all of us to those people whose family members have died – I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost friends,’ the president volunteered.
Turning his attention to his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, the president said another upside to surviving the coronvirus was, ‘I don’t have to be locked up in my basement.’
‘When you’re the president you can’t lock yourself in a basement and say “I’m not going to bother with the world,”‘ Trump said, a clear knock at Biden who’s taken coronavirus precautions seriously since the beginning of the pandemic.
‘It’s risky,’ Trump continued. ‘But you gotta get out.’
Biden did travel to Ohio Monday, which the president and his campaign mocked pushing back on the idea that it remains a swing state, which the polls show.
Trump won Ohio in 2016 by more than 8 points, but the Obama-Biden ticket won the state in 2008 and again in 2012.
‘Biden had a bad day,’ Trump said. ‘He forgot Mitt Romney’s name, he didn’t know what state he was in. And he said today he’s a proud Democrat running for the U.S. Senate.’
‘Can you imagine if I did that?’ Trump asked.
Shortly after, the 74-year-old Trump stumbled over his own words referring to 2016 as a year ago.
‘We had the same thing last year, remember, four years ago, we had the same thing,’ Trump riffed, talking about how the polls show him down.
In Toledo, Biden had said that each time he ran for office – as a senator, as vice president and now president – he ran as a Democrat. ‘But I will govern as an American president,’ he said.
During a gaggle with reporters Monday, the 77-year-old couldn’t spit out Romney’s name.
‘You may remember, I got in trouble when we were running against senator, who was a Mormon, he was a governor, OK? And I took him on and nobody’s face should be questioned,’ Biden said, speaking of the 2012 presidential race against Romney, now a Utah senator.
The Republican National Committee said the Biden campaign had referenced Pennsylvania, not Ohio, in a tweet.
‘He’s got a lot of bad days coming,’ the president said.
Trump said the U.S. needed somebody tougher than Biden to deal with world leaders like China’s Xi Jinping, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
‘They’re 100 per cent sharp,’ Trump said, contrasting those leaders with Biden.
Since he was in Florida, Trump also tried to connect Biden with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. ‘Obama gave the whole planet away to Castro,’ Trump also said.
During the Obama years, the Democratic administration tried to re-establish relations with Cuba, though Trump has walked that back. Obama met with Raul Castro in 2016.
Florida is an especially important state for Trump to win if he wants to stop Biden in the Electoral College.
He even went as far to push Floridians to pursue early voting.
‘In-person early voting begins next week,’ he told the crowd.
The president didn’t wear a mask earlier when he departed the White House, nor did he sport one for any part of the journey Monday.
It’s his first trip on the plane since Thursday, October 1, when he attended a fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminister, New Jersey, the day before the White House announced he and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus.
In Florida, hundreds of supporters waited for the president. They walked in close quarters as they queued up in a line that stretched down the street.
Few were wearing face masks even as COVID cases are on the rise in the state.
Campaign volunteers took temperatures and passed out masks, but the campaign did not require attendees to wear them.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said such rallies are ‘asking for trouble.’
He argued this it the ‘worst time’ to have rallies.
‘When you look at what’s going on in the United States, it’s really very troublesome,’ he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday. ‘A number of states right now are having increase in test positivity.’
Meanwhile, Trump’s personal physician Dr. Sean Conley, released an update on the president’s health before Trump took the stage, stating the president ‘is not infectious to others.’
Conley said President Trump tested negative for COVID on consecutive days but did not specify which dates. The White House still has not answered questions about when the president last tested negative before he was diagnosed with the disease.
President Trump ‘has tested negative, on consecutive days, using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card,’ Conley wrote in a memo released by the White House press office ahead of Trump’s rally.
‘It is important to note that this test was not used in isolation for the determination of the President’s current negative status. Repeatedly negative antigen tests, taken in context with additional clinical and laboratory data, including viral load, subgenomic RNA and PCR cycle threshold measurements, as well as ongoing assessment of viral culture data, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication,’ Conley noted.
‘The comprehensive data, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication. This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the president is not infectious to others,’ he concluded.
Conley was spotted traveling on Air Force One with Trump Monday.
President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Florida on Monday afternoon; it was raining and the president was not wearing a face mask
President Trump did not speak to reporters before boarding Air Force One for the trip to Florida
Supporters of President Donald Trump line up to enter campaign rally at the Orlando Sanford International Airport hours before its start – few were wearing face masks even as COVID cases are on the rise in Florida
A women, refuses a mask, as she walks by a worker handing out them out ahead of Trump’s rally
Michael Grinder, of The Villages, waits in line to enter the president’s rally
Photos on social media of the rally setup showed rows of chairs lined up next to one another with little social distancing.
Additionally, there will be no requirement for his supporters to wear masks although White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said they will be encouraged to do so.
‘We will have the same policies that we’ve had in place, the campaign has always handed out masks, encouraged people to wear them, provided hand sanitize or. Ultimately, you have a right in this country to show up and express your political viewpoint, that’s why we have peaceful protests. You can’t have one standard for the protesters out there on one side but not for those wanting to express their first amendment rights in support of this president,’ McEnany said on ‘Fox & Friends’ Monday morning.
She remains in quarantine after testing positive for the virus.
Monday marks the start of a vigorous schedule for Trump, 74, who is marking his return to campaign trail since being sidelined with COVID.
One of his top campaign advisers said the president is complaining about not having enough events on his campaign schedule, adding they expect to have two to three or more in the ramp up to November 3.
‘The president, even this morning, in our morning conversation, was getting on my case for not having enough rallies and public events scheduled. So he’s ready to go. I expect to see him out there in the short term two to three events a day and that will grow as we get closer to Election Day,’ Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told reporters on a press call.
A flesh-colored bandage is visible on the back of President Trump’s hand
President Trump boards Air Force One where he heads to Florida to kick off a series of campaign rallies this week as he makes his bid for a second term
A volunteer checks the temperature of a Trump supporter before they enter the rally
Hundreds of Trump supporters queued up in a line that stretched down the street
Supporters wait in line to see President Trump’s rally
Trump will make his return to the campaign stage with a rally in Sanford, Florida, where he was scheduled to be last Friday night before tested positive for COVID.
Monday also is the start of a jam-packed with of campaign stops in states crucial to his re-election. On Tuesday Trump will be in Johnston, Pa., on Wednesday in Des Moines and Thursday in Greenville, North Carolina.
The president needs Florida’s 29 electoral votes if he wants a second term in the White House. Vice President Mike Pence was campaigning in the state on Saturday and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, was in Florida over the weekend to rally supporters.
Florida’s death toll from the virus passed the 15,000 mark on Friday. The number of total daily infections topped 5,500 on Sunday.
And first-time filings for unemployment assistance in the state rose last week, with after Disney World and Universal Orlando announced layoffs.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden called Trump’s rally ‘reckless.’
‘President Trump comes to Sanford today bringing nothing but reckless behavior, divisive rhetoric, and fear-mongering,’ Biden said in a statement Monday.
Biden leads in the state by almost four points in the RealCleaPolitics average of Florida polls.
Questions linger about the state of the president’s health and how infectious he is. His doctor has given him the all-clear to return to the campaign trail and the president, at his rallies, is on stage and stays distant from supporters.
Florida is a state the president has to win if he wants a second term in the White House – Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in the state on Saturday
Democratic nominee Joe Biden called Trump’s Florida rally ‘reckless’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with COVID refrain from being around others for 10 days after symptoms first appear, and that includes 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Those with a more severe to critical case of the virus could infectious for 20 days after symptoms begin.
The White House has not been clear about the severity of Trump’s bout with COVID. Officials have declined to say when he last tested negative. Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, has released written updates on Trump’s health but has not taken questions from the press since last Monday.
Trump’s positive test result was announced Oct. 2, the same day he was hospitalized, and he received treatments that are typically reserved for those who are severely ill.
That could be because he is president or because it was medically needed. If it was the later, that indicates he may need to isolate until Oct. 21.
The president’s doctor said he is no longer contagious.
‘He is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,’ Conley wrote in a memo on Sunday.
Conley also said ‘there is no longer evidence of actively replicating virus’ and ‘decreasing viral loads’ – although there was no mention if the president has tested negative.
‘It looks like I’m immune for, I don’t know, maybe a long time, or maybe a short time. It could be a lifetime. Nobody really knows. But I’m immune. So, the president is in very good shape to fight the battles,’ Trump told Fox Business’ Mario Bartiromo on Sunday.
‘I knew I was free. I beat this crazy, horrible China virus,’ he added.