President Donald Trump made his first public appearance Saturday afternoon since returning to the White House on Monday after a three-day hospital stay after testing positive for COVID-19.
Trump spoke from the balcony of the White House at an event called “Peaceful Protest for Law and Order,” which was attended by several hundred people on the lawn below. The appearance of the president in public is seen as the first step towards resuming a full-fledged campaign next week.
The White House said in a statement that the president delivered a speech “in front of peaceful demonstrators in support of law and order.”
“Since taking office, President Trump has been steadfastly committed to restoring law and order in our country, working with state and local law enforcement to protect our communities and the rights of all Americans,” the White House said.
During his speech, Trump focused on what his administration has done for racial and ethnic minorities over the past four years, including “dropping the unemployment rate to a record, achieving historically low poverty levels, implementing criminal justice reform, making billions of investments through Zones of Opportunity.” and supporting the choice of schools. “
The president tested positive for coronavirus on October 2. After that, Trump spent three nights in the hospital and returned to the White House on Monday. Trump did not say if he is still a carrier of COVID-19, stating only that he does not show symptoms of the virus that has caused the death of more than 210 thousand Americans.
A White House spokeswoman said Friday that Trump will undergo another COVID-19 test and will refuse to speak publicly if it is determined that he is still carrying the virus.
Trump’s attempts to portray himself as a crime fighter have had little effect on his standing in national opinion polls, which show that he is more than 10 percentage points behind his Democrat rival Joe Biden. However, the gap between the two candidates in the fluctuating states, where the voting results can have a decisive influence on the outcome of the elections, is much smaller.
Trump said that Biden’s rise to power will lead to lawlessness. He tried to link the former vice president to unrest caused by police violence against African Americans.
Biden accused Trump of inciting violence with his rhetoric. The Democratic candidate supported protesters’ calls for police reform, but condemned the rioting and looting that have marred some of the protests across the country in recent months.
On Monday, Trump is planning a campaign rally in central Florida, the state in which he plans to win elections.
Speaking on Fox News Friday night, Trump said he had been tested again for the virus but did not disclose the result. He also said he had stopped taking medications to fight COVID-19. “I feel really strong,” the president said.
The White House did not release the results of Trump’s latest test and declined to say when the president was last tested negative.
Trump and his administration have been criticized for their sloppy approach to tackling the pandemic, wearing masks and social distancing at the White House
Biden sharply criticized Trump’s decision to restart the campaign. “Good luck. I would not appear [на публике]if you don’t have a mask and you don’t know how to distance yourself, ”he said, speaking to reporters in Paradise, Nevada.
Earlier, a source familiar with the plans for Saturday’s event at the White House said that all participants will be wearing masks. Participants in the Florida rally will be tested for fever, advised to wear masks and given access to hand sanitizer, Trump’s headquarters said in a statement.
Biden himself travels Saturday to Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania, a state where Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
A Reuters / Ipsos poll released earlier this week found Biden ahead of Trump in Pennsylvania by five points. The poll also showed that Biden leads Trump by 10 points nationwide.