Trump aims for campaign reset and aggressive travel schedule after coronavirus setback
Although he was hospitalized to fight the virus only a week ago, Trump’s message on COVID-19 has not changed since his diagnosis: a questionable assessment that the pandemic was a thing of the past. Hundreds of people in the United States continue to die from the virus every day.
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“Under my leadership, we are delivering a safe vaccine and rapid recovery like no one can even believe,” Trump insisted. “If you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered as we have recovered.”
His voice might have been a little squeaky, but otherwise Trump was, well, Trump.
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Loud and belligerent, he thanked the audience for their good wishes and said he was no longer contagious as he embarked on a frenzied final part of the campaign.
Trump insisted that after receiving experimental drugs and other VIP treatments, he felt fine and was happy that he no longer had to worry about the infection as he is now “immune.”
“I feel so powerful,” Trump said, showing no obvious signs of persistent infection. “I will enter this audience. I will go in there, I will hug everyone in this audience. I will kiss guys and beautiful women… everyone. I’ll just give you a big kiss.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, told CNN on Monday that those recovering from COVID-19 are likely to be immunized for a limited time, but there are emerging cases of people being re-infected. weeks or months later. .
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Despite Trump’s battle with a deadly disease, it was striking how little had changed. Threats to members of the public aside, the rally was like so many others during the election battle against Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump has reverted to his many usual lines of attack, calling Democrats “engaged and disorganized and vengeful,” and praising “enormous progress” in viral therapy. He vowed the third quarter economy would be ‘record’ and claimed that if he wins in November, ‘normal life’ will resume, while Biden delays vaccine and destroys the economy with a ‘draconian’ lockdown .
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And when he was done, with his new release song, The Village People’s “YMCA,” yelling into the speakers, the President did what became his trademark dance, pumping his fists a little in time to the beat of the crowd. But he kept his distance from the public.
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Three weeks before the election, Trump is working to correct a stubborn deficit in national and state battlefield polls as he continues to spread false information about a virus he has spent months downplaying.
This includes Florida, which is seen as crucial to his chances of re-election. Trump narrowly beat 2016 rival Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state by just over 112,000 votes. Some recent polls have suggested a close race in the state, while others have put Democrat Joe Biden in the lead.
Stressing the importance of Florida, Trump will return to the state on Friday for another rally, this time in Ocala.
Trump’s rally to Sanford was his first stop in a busy week that will include events in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin. The robust timetable underscores the urgency it faces to recover from a series of self-inflicted setbacks that have shaken its base of support and raised alarm among Republicans who fear the White House is on the verge of death. be lost to Biden.
Trump returns to election track, claims he is ‘immune’ to coronavirus
And it comes amid still unanswered questions about the impact so many trips could have on the 74-year-old president’s health so soon. The progression of COVID-19 is often unpredictable and there can be long-term complications.
After Air Force One took off from Joint Base Andrews, the president’s doctor released a health update that said Trump had tested negative for the virus – and had done so on consecutive days. His physician, Navy Cmdr. Scott Conley said the tests, combined with other data, including the viral load, led him to conclude that Trump was not contagious.
For days, the White House had avoided questions of whether Trump had tested negative. Conley said over the weekend that the president met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria to end the isolation safely and that by “currently accepted standards” Trump was no longer considered a risk. transmission.
There was no evidence of new health precautions, although more passengers than usual on Air Force One, including U.S. Secret Service agents and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, were seen wearing masks on board.
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Trump’s decision to get back on the election track so quickly drew criticism from Biden and other Democrats.
“President Trump comes to Sanford today bringing nothing but reckless behavior, divisive rhetoric and incitement to fear,” Biden said in a statement. “But what he fails to deliver is just as dangerous: no plan to bring this virus which has taken the lives of more than 15,000 Floridians under control.
Trump continued to mock Biden for his efforts to encourage social distancing during his campaign events, calling the circles that Biden’s campaign uses to demarcate individual space “crazy”.
“He’s got a lot of bad days ahead,” Trump said at another point.
Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Curt Anderson in St. Petersburg, Florida contributed to this report.
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