President Donald Trump plans to resume in-person events beginning this weekend, around a week after he was airlifted to Walter Reed hospital to treat his coronavirus symptoms ― and just five days since he was discharged.
On Saturday, the president will attend an in-person event Saturday on the South Lawn of the White House, according to multiple reports. He is expected to speak “to peaceful protesters for law and order” from a White House balcony, ABC News reported Friday.
Hundreds of people are expected at the event, per The New York Times.
Two days later, on Monday evening, Trump will hold an in-person campaign rally in Sanford, Florida. He promised it will be “very BIG.”
Trump revealed last Friday that he was positive for COVID-19 just hours after a close aide, Hope Hicks, said she had come down with the virus. He was flown to the presidential hospital suite Friday evening for symptoms that included a fever and difficulty breathing, but checked himself out three days later to return to the White House ― putting staff there at risk.
It remains unclear whether Trump’s appearance will adhere to CDC guidelines. The agency says people with COVID-19 are safe to be around others 10 days after their symptoms first appear if they have been fever-free for 24 hours and their other symptoms — aside from the possible loss of taste or smell — appear to be getting better. The White House has not been forthcoming about the date of the president’s last negative coronavirus test, and we do not know precisely when he began to feel sick.
Walter Reed Dr. Sean Conley gave Trump the all-clear to resume public events by this weekend in a letter released Thursday, despite previously warning that a patient’s symptoms can suddenly worsen in the second week of their illness.
Conley, however, has admitted to offering a particularly rosy view of the president’s condition in prior remarks to the press.
“I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” he explained. “And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”
Numerous other people in Trump’s orbit have also announced they have the virus, including first lady Melania Trump, former adviser Kellyanne Conway and current adviser Stephen Miller.
Several of those who became sick had attended the president’s Supreme Court nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday, Sept. 26. Although the event was partly held outdoors, few people were spotted wearing masks on the lawn or at an indoor gathering afterward.
This coming Saturday will be the first time Trump has held a public event since announcing his illness.
The president has sought to boost his public image through multiple phone interviews with conservative media, prerecorded videos and a long series of all-caps tweets that have led to speculation about the possible effects of any medication he might be taking. During a Friday interview with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, Trump said he was no longer taking any medication for his illness.
Trump has also pushed for an in-person debate with Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, whose campaign had agreed to participate in the virtual set-up announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Biden’s campaign had requested a virtual debate.
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