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Donald Trump chooses denial and recklessness as he’s set to resume campaign rallies

As President Donald Trump stood on a White House balcony Saturday — spewing mistruths about his opponent’s plan for policing and claiming the coronavirus is “disappearing” while hundreds of people watched from below — it was clear that his illness has taught him very little and he will continue to endanger Americans until Election Day.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump removes his face mask to speak from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump removes his face mask to speak from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

There was a chance for a strategic pivot by the President after he contracted Covid-19 that would have helped him shore up his flagging approval ratings on the handling of the virus. After learning a great deal about coronavirus, as he claimed during his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he could have chosen a path of responsibility by using his platform to educate the public about the risks of the virus at a time when US cases are surging and doctors fear that the nation is entering a second wave.

But nine days after he announced his coronavirus diagnosis — and hours before his physician said he is no longer considered “a transmission risk to others” but did not say he had tested negative — Trump chose his familiar tactics of denial, risk and ignorance. Two weeks after one super-spreader event in the White House Rose Garden, he held another on the South Lawn with no social distancing. This time, it was before an audience of Black and Latino Americans, groups who have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic.



a group of people posing for the camera: Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump makes remarks on law and order on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday, where there was little social distancing. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)


© Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump makes remarks on law and order on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday, where there was little social distancing. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Rather than mitigating risk, Trump is planning at least three campaign rallies next week in Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa, stating Saturday, “We are starting very, very big with our rallies and with our everything” as he again threw caution to the wind.

In his speech from the White House balcony and during his interviews with right wing outlets like the Rush Limbaugh radio show on Friday, he embraced the only political strategy he knows — playing to his base, rather than attempting to broaden his appeal, as his campaign spirals toward Election Day. He still appears either unwilling or unable to see the huge drag that the public’s lack of confidence in his handling of the pandemic is having on his election prospects.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week showed only 37% of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, while 59% disapproved. And the Pew Research Center found that Biden had a 17-point advantage over Trump when registered voters were asked who could better handle the public health impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

View Trump and Biden head-to-head polling

The President continued downplaying Covid-19 on Saturday, referring to it with

Trump says he wants to hold a rally on Saturday after his doctor cleared him to resume public events.

President Trump’s doctor said on Thursday that the president had completed his treatments to alleviate the symptoms of the coronavirus and that he anticipated Mr. Trump would be able to resume “public engagements” on Saturday.

The forecast about Mr. Trump’s condition came from the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, in a note updating people on his health.

As of Friday morning, it has been one week since Mr. Trump announced that he had tested positive for the virus, though neither he nor White House officials have disclosed when he last tested negative before that announcement.

Thursday night, the president called in to Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News and said he wanted to hold a rally in Florida on Saturday and another in Pennsylvania on Sunday. He went on to say he was in “great shape” — even as he paused on a few occasions and seemed to cough or clear his throat — and again presented the monoclonal antibody treatment he received as a miracle cure, even though there is no final clinical trial data to evaluate its effectiveness.

Mr. Trump did not give a clear answer when Mr. Hannity asked if he had tested negative for the coronavirus: He first said he wouldn’t get an “actual test” until Friday — today — then suggested that he had already had a test and that it had found “very little infection or virus, if any,” and then said: “I don’t know if they found any. I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors.”

In the note on Thursday, Dr. Conley said Mr. Trump had remained “stable” and “devoid” of symptoms that would suggest the illness was progressing.

“Saturday will be Day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagements at that time,” Dr. Conley said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say those who test positive for the coronavirus should isolate themselves from others for a minimum of 10 days after testing positive, or for at least 10 days after symptoms first appear. Some people with a moderate or severe case of the virus can stay infectious for 20 days or perhaps even longer, according to the C.D.C.

Shortly after Dr. Conley’s memo, Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign released a statement calling for the second presidential debate to take place as originally scheduled. “There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting, postpone it or otherwise alter it in any way,” the statement said.

On the Fox News show, Mr. Hannity suggested that Mr. Trump should organize his own debate.

“Well, I might,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he would want a “fair anchor” — perhaps, he said, Sean Hannity.

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Nebraska Medicine to resume appointments, procedures after battling cyberattack | Live Well

That incident, too, began on a weekend. It, too, left doctors and nurses to rely on paper backup systems.

Nebraska Medicine officials said last week that the health system’s emergency rooms have remained open since the outage began early Sept. 20, a Sunday, and no patients had been diverted to other hospitals.

No patients’ electronic medical records were deleted or destroyed, the health system said at the time, thanks to the system’s “back-up and recovery processes.”

But when asked whether patients’ medical or financial information had been exposed, a Nebraska Medicine spokesman said the statement the health system provided contained all the information officials could provide.

Nebraska Medicine’s outage also affected hospitals in North Platte, Norfolk, Hastings and Beatrice for which the health system hosts electronic health records systems.

Electronic records at Great Plains Health in North Platte came back over the weekend and were up and running Tuesday with a few small exceptions, said Megan McGown, a health system spokeswoman.

“It’s a great system,” she said. “We missed it while it was down, and we are very glad it’s back up.”

During the outage, staff with Great Plains, like those within Nebraska Medicine, had to record patient information on paper. Patient care was not impacted, she said, and to her knowledge, the hospital did not have to delay any procedures. No patient information was accessed or stolen.

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