President Trump sets big events for White House, Florida, restarting campaign

President Donald Trump is participating in an event Saturday, just over a week after he tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports.


Looking to shove his campaign back on track, President Donald Trump and his team laid out an aggressive return to political activities on Friday, including a big Saturday White House event and a rally in Florida on Monday, a week after his hospitalization for the coronavirus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.

As questions linger about his health — and Democratic opponent Joe Biden steps up his own campaigning — Trump is planning to leave Washington for the first time since he was hospitalized. He is also increasing his radio and TV appearances with conservative interviewers, hoping to make up for lost time with just over three weeks until Election Day and millions already voting.

The president has not been seen in public — other than in White House-produced videos — since his return days ago from the military hospital where he received experimental treatments for the virus.

On Friday, he appeared in a taped video with Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel. Trump said he felt very good and strong.

Previously, he didn't feel "very vital," but after taking the Regeneron drug, he felt very different within a period of 24 hours and felt he could have left Walter Reed after the first day, Trump said on the segment.

Trump noted he sort of had a sore throat and also had his lungs tested. The president also said he doesn’t know where he contracted the virus, suggesting it may have come through some big events at the White House.

In that interview, Trump was asked if he has been retested for COVID-19. “I have been retested, and I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet. But I've been retested, and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free," he said.

Two weeks after his Rose Garden event that has been labeled a “super-spreader” for the virus, Trump is planning to convene another large crowd outside the White House on Saturday on a law-and-order theme. More than two dozen people linked to the White House have contracted COVID-19 since the president's Sept. 26 event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court.

Trump delivered an address Saturday on his support for law enforcement from the Blue Room balcony to a friendly crowd. The president wore a mask as he walked out for the speech but took it off to make his remarks.

Trump's Monday rally in Sanford, Florida, was originally scheduled to be held on Oct. 2, the day after he tested positive.

Announcement of the event came as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, cautioned the White House again to avoid large-scale gatherings of people without masks.

He said of the Barrett event in an interview with The Associated Press, “I was not surprised to see a super-spreader event given the circumstances." That means “crowded, congregate setting, not wearing masks. It is not surprising to see an outbreak," he said.

Trump tweeted on Friday that he would be in Sanford “for a very BIG RALLY!”

Meanwhile, he was making the rounds of conservative media, calling in to Fox News host Sean Hannity Thursday night and spending two hours live on air with radio host Rush Limbaugh Friday in what his campaign billed as a “radio rally.”

Holding court on his reelection battle, his fight against the coronavirus and revived negotiations with Democrats to pass an economic stimulus bill, Trump was making a direct appeal to his base of loyal supporters, whom he needs to turn out to the polls in droves. He was to follow that with a taped appearance for Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show Friday evening.

While concerns about infection appeared to scuttle plans for next week’s presidential debate, Trump said he believes he’s no longer contagious.

“My voice is now perfect,” he told Limbaugh.

Fauci said in his AP interview, “Let me just tell you what the CDC guidelines are for getting people to be able to go back into society. It generally is 10 days from the onset of your symptoms.”

That onset for Trump was Oct. 1, according to his doctors. The president's White House doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said that means Trump, who has been surrounded by minimal staffing as he works out of the White House residence and the Oval Office, could return to holding events on Saturday.

Conley added that Trump was showing no evidence of his illness progressing or adverse reactions to the aggressive course of therapy he has received.

The doctor said Saturday night that the president has met the CDC criteria for ending his isolation. Conley said Trump is "no longer considered a transmission risk to others."

While reports of reinfection in COVID-19 victims are rare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that even people who recover from the disease continue to wear masks, stay distanced and follow other precautions. It was unclear if Trump, who has refused mask wearing in most settings, would abide by that guidance.

In the interview with Limbaugh, Trump again credited the experimental antibody drug he received last week with speeding his recovery.

“I was not in the greatest of shape," he said. "A day later I was fine.” He promised to expedite distribution of the drug to Americans in need, though that would require action by the Food and Drug Administration.

He speculated to Limbaugh that without the drug, "I might not have recovered at all.” However, there is no way to know how the drug affected his progression with the virus.

Doctor: Trump virus treatment 'not a cure'

Despite public and private surveys showing him trailing Democrat Biden, Trump predicted a greater victory in 2020 than four years ago. He won a majority in the Electoral College in 2016, though he lost the national popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

As for economic aid to businesses and individuals harmed by the pandemic, he said, “I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering." He made that comment just days after calling off talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “until after the election” because the GOP balked at the high price tag of the aid she was calling for.

Hearst TV contributed to this report.