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Trump, downplaying risk, says he’s ready to ‘kiss everyone’ at his first campaign trail rally since COVID-19 diagnosis

President Trump in his return to the campaign trail in Florida on Monday evening boasted he has recovered from COVID-19 and is impervious to the disease that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.

The president, who tested positive on Oct. 1, also indicated he is unconcerned about being contagious and told the audience gathered at Orlando Sanford International Airport that he would be happy to engage in some close contact. 

“One thing with me, the nice part, I went through it, now they say I’m immune. … I feel so powerful,” Trump said. “I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys, and the beautiful women, and the — everybody. I’ll just give you a big fat kiss.”

Trump spoke for about an hour. While his remarks were short by the standards of his past rallies, which are often about 80 minutes long, it was far longer than any of the brief videos he released while recovering from the virus or his first live speech, which took place at the White House on Saturday and lasted less than 2 minutes. 

The president’s return to the campaign trail came shortly after the White House medical team announced that he tested negative “on consecutive days.” Trump’s return to public events came exactly 10 days after the White House said his symptoms first appeared, which is the period of isolation recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Trump, who was treated with steroids and experimental drugs, became ill after his campaign and the White House hosted a series of events that ignored masks and social distancing measures designed to stop the spread of the virus. Over a dozen people linked to those gatherings also tested positive, including senior members of the president’s campaign team and White House staff.

The White House has declined to reveal precisely how many staffers have fallen ill. Trump’s team has also repeatedly refused to say when he last tested negative prior to his diagnosis, raising the possibility that the testing regimen supposedly in place at the White House was not followed and also making it impossible to say whether the president traveled to events while contagious. 

Even after the cluster of cases at the White House, Trump’s Florida rally still didn’t include standard measures designed to minimize risks of coronavirus spread. Guests were packed together and many did not wear masks. 

On stage, Trump, as he has for months, criticized lockdowns and quarantine measures as detrimental to the economy. He encouraged people to ignore them if they choose.

“The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself,” Trump said of the lockdowns.“If you want to stay, stay. Relax. Stay. But, if you want to get out there, get out.”



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump at a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla. (John Raoux/AP)


© Provided by Yahoo! News
President Trump at a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla. (John Raoux/AP)

The president also suggested keeping distance from others was never an option for him.   

Video: President Trump: White House doctors said I can’t spread the virus anymore

Trump reports ‘no symptoms,’ returns to downplaying virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, said to be making progress in his recovery from COVID-19, tweeted his eagerness to return to the campaign trail Tuesday even as the outbreak that has killed more than 210,000 Americans reached ever more widely into the upper echelons of the U.S. government.

As Trump convalesced out of sight in the White House, the administration defended the protections it has put in place to protect the staff working there to treat and support him. Trump again publicly played down the virus on Twitter after his return from a three-day hospitalization, though even more aides tested positive, including one of his closest advisers, Stephen Miller.

In one significant national coronavirus action, Trump declared there would be no action before the election on economic-stimulus legislation — an announcement that came not long after the Federal Reserve chairman said such help was essential for recovery with the nation reeling from the human and economic cost of the pandemic. Stocks fell on the White House news.

As for Trump’s own recovery, his doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said in a letter that the president had a “restful” night at the White House and “reports no symptoms.”

Meanwhile, Trump was grappling with next political steps exactly four weeks from Election Day. Anxious to project strength, Trump, who is still contagious with the virus, tweeted Tuesday morning that he was planning to attend next week’s debate with Democrat Joe Biden in Miami and “It will be great!”

Biden, for his part, said he and Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID positive.


Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania that he’s “looking forward to being able to debate him” but said “we’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines.”

Elsewhere in the government, the scope of the outbreak was still being uncovered. On Tuesday, the nation’s top military leaders including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and the vice chairman, Gen. John Hyten, were in quarantine after exposure to Adm. Charles W. Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard.

It was not known how Ray contracted the virus, but he attended an event for military families at the White House on Sept. 27. The Coast Guard said in a statement that Ray felt mild symptoms over the weekend and was tested on Monday.

Also testing positive Tuesday was Miller, a top policy adviser and Trump speechwriter, who has been an architect of the president’s “America First” foreign policy and restrictive immigration measures. Miller’s wife, Katie Miller, who serves as communications director to Vice President Mike Pence, had the virus earlier this year. She had been in Salt Lake City with Pence where he is preparing to debate Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, but she left as soon as she found out about her husband’s diagnosis, officials said. She tested negative on Tuesday.

Trump on Monday made clear that he has little intention of abiding by best containment practices, when

Trump Has ‘No Symptoms,’ Returns to Downplaying Virus | Washington, D.C. News

By ZEKE MILLER, JILL COLVIN and AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, said to be making progress in his recovery from COVID-19, expressed eagerness to return to the campaign trail Tuesday even as the outbreak that has killed more than 210,000 Americans reached ever more widely into the upper echelons of the U.S. government.

As Trump convalesced out of sight in the White House, the administration defended the protections it has put in place to protect the staff working there to treat and support him. Trump again publicly played down the virus on Twitter after his return from a three-day hospitalization.

In one significant national coronavirus action, he declared there would be no action on economic-stimulus legislation — an announcement that came not long after the Federal Reserve chairman said such help was essential for recovery with the nation reeling from the human and economic cost of the pandemic. Stocks fell on the White House news.

As for Trump’s own recovery, his doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said in a letter that the president had a “restful” night at the White House and “reports no symptoms.”

Meanwhile, Trump was grappling with next political steps exactly four weeks from Election Day. Anxious to project strength, Trump, who is still contagious with the virus, tweeted Tuesday morning that he was planning to attend next Thursday’s debate with Democrat Joe Biden in Miami and “It will be great!”

Elsewhere in the government, the scope of the outbreak was still being uncovered. On Tuesday, the nation’s top military leaders including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and the vice chairman, Gen. John Hyten, were in quarantine after exposure to Adm. Charles W. Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard.

It was not known how Ray contracted the virus, but he attended an event for military families at the White House on Sept. 27. The Coast Guard said in a statement that Ray felt mild symptoms over the weekend and was tested on Monday.

Trump on Monday made clear that he has little intention of abiding by best containment practices, when he removed his mask before entering the White House after his discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Waiting aides were visible when he entered the Blue Room without a face covering.

Trump’s attitude alarmed infectious disease experts. And it suggested his own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease, which has also infected the first lady and more than a dozen White House aides and associates.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday, “When I saw him on the balcony of the White House, taking off his mask, I couldn’t help but think that he sent the wrong signal, given that he’s infected with COVID-19 and that there are many people in his immediate circle who have the virus,.”

Trump, for his part, falsely suggested that the virus was akin to the seasonal flu.

“Many people every

Families of COVID-19 victims slam president’s downplaying of his diagnosis

Hours before he was released from a hospital stay for his coronavirus diagnosis Monday, President Trump tweeted his thoughts on the pandemic that’s killed over 210,000 Americans, saying, “Don’t be afraid.”



President Donald Trump boards Marine One to return to the White House after receiving treatments for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Oct. 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Md.


© Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump boards Marine One to return to the White House after receiving treatments for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Oct. 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Md.

On Twitter, supporters of the president praised his strength and hailed his message, calling him “Our beloved President” and “BEST PRESIDENT EVER!”

But for scores of families who’ve lost loved ones to the disease, as well as first responders and other advocates, the response was far different. Many of them slammed the president’s cavalier sentiment and warned that it could make the situation worse.

Brian Walter, a New York City transit worker who lost his father to the virus, told ABC News in a statement that Trump’s advice to people not to fear the coronavirus “hurts.”

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“It makes me worry for all the families who will still experience the loss of a loved one because our president refuses to take this pandemic seriously,” he said.



a close up of a green field: Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.


© Jose Luis Magana/AP
Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Walter is a member of the survivor network and advocacy group COVID Survivors for Change, which has been documenting the toll the pandemic has left on millions of Americans. On Sunday, the group installed 20,000 empty chairs on the lawn across from the White House to symbolize the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.

Chris Kocher, executive director of COVID Survivors for Change, said in a statement that he was taken aback by Trump’s tweet, given that he had the best health care and treatment in the world — a luxury that most coronavirus patients don’t have.

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Trump’s doctors told the press that he was given several medications including an antibody cocktail, remdesivir and steroids.

“For the long haulers living with symptoms of COVID-19 for months on end, this virus is terrifying. Trump doesn’t care, and he still doesn’t get what families are going through,” Kocher said in a statement.

Susan R. Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association, urged Americans to keep heeding warnings from doctors and health experts.

“We know vigilance is the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic because this virus doesn’t feed on fear; it feeds on complacency,” she said in a statement.

Liza Billings, a New York City nurse who lost her brother to the pandemic and is also member of COVID Survivors for Change, criticized Trump’s take

‘A slap in the face’: Families of COVID-19 victims slam president’s downplaying of his diagnosis

Advocates warn the president’s cavalier attitude could make the pandemic worse.

On Twitter, supporters of the president praised his strength and hailed his message, calling him “Our beloved President” and “BEST PRESIDENT EVER!”

But for scores of families who’ve lost loved ones to the disease, as well as first responders and other advocates, the response was far different. Many of them slammed the president’s cavalier sentiment and warned that it could make the situation worse.

Brian Walter, a New York City transit worker who lost his father to the virus, told ABC News in a statement that Trump’s advice to people not to fear the coronavirus “hurts.”

“It makes me worry for all the families who will still experience the loss of a loved one because our president refuses to take this pandemic seriously,” he said.

PHOTO: Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Empty chairs who represent a fraction of the more than 200,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, are seen during the National COVID-19 Remembrance, at The Ellipse outside the South side of the White House, Oct. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Walter is a member of the survivor network and advocacy group COVID Survivors for Change, which has been documenting the toll the pandemic has left on millions of Americans. On Sunday, the group installed 20,000 empty chairs on the lawn across from the White House to symbolize the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.

Chris Kocher, executive director of COVID Survivors for Change, said in a statement that he was taken aback by Trump’s tweet, given that he had the best health care and treatment in the world — a luxury that most coronavirus patients don’t have.

Trump’s doctors told the press that he was given several medications including an antibody cocktail, remdesivir and steroids.

“For the long haulers living with symptoms of COVID-19 for months on end, this virus is terrifying. Trump doesn’t care, and he still doesn’t get what families are going through,” Kocher said in a statement.

Susan R. Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association, urged Americans to keep heeding warnings from doctors and health experts.

“We know vigilance is the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic because this virus doesn’t feed on fear; it feeds on complacency,” she said in a statement.

Liza Billings, a New York City nurse who lost her brother to the pandemic and is also member of COVID Survivors for Change, criticized Trump’s take on the virus.

“I watched as medical teams fought like hell to save patients from COVID-19.