Trump Back on Campaign Trail in Florida, One Week after Covid Hospital Stay
Just a week after his release from the hospital, US President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail Monday for the first time since contracting the coronavirus, resuming his effort to stage a late comeback in the election’s final stretch.
His outdoor speech in Sanford, Florida came ahead of as the president and his rival Joe Biden fight to secure votes in swing states with three weeks to go until the 3 November election.
Florida is one of four battleground states Trump is visiting over the next four days.
“It’s great to be back in my home state, Florida, to make my official return to the campaign trail,” Trump declared in front of a crowd of thousands of supporters, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, mostly without masks, despite the ongoing pandemic.
Trump said that, after being given experimental medication and other VIP treatment, he’s feeling great and glad he no longer needs to be concerned about infection because he’s now “immune.”
“I feel so powerful,” said Trump, displaying no obvious signs of lingering infection. “I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women … everybody. I’ll just give ya a big fat kiss.”
Polling suggests Biden has a 10-point lead over Trump nationally. However his lead in some key states is narrower – as is the case in Florida, where he is 3.7 points ahead, according to an average of polls collated by Real Clear Politics.
Winning battlegrounds like the “Sunshine State” is needed to gather the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House, which is not determined by a simple popular ballot count.
Trump tested positive for Covid-19 some 11 days ago, and was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center a day later.
But on Sunday his personal doctor said he was no longer a Covid transmission risk to others and disclosed on Monday that his most recent tests were negative over consecutive days, although he did not give the dates.
The usual chants of “Four more years!” were heard as hundreds queue to enter the open air space where the president is appearing this evening.
People got their temperature checked and were being offered face masks. Those who covered up didn’t think it was too soon for the president be out and about. They said they admired him for it.
The Trump campaign team are throwing everything at Florida – a loss there makes his return to the White House near impossible.
Over the weekend, his eldest son Donald Trump Jr concluded his Florida bus tour, “Fighters Against Socialism” – a pitch primarily aimed at Hispanic voters. A little over 100 people from Venezuelan, Puerto Rican and Vietnamese backgrounds sat shoulder to shoulder, some masked, watched Trump Jr’s speech in Orlando. He was joined by Cuban-American fighter Jorge Masvidal, who is a big star here.
Vice-President Mike Pence recently visited “The Villages” a famous retirement home to turn out the elderly vote.
But though the president and some of his supporters seem relaxed about coronavirus, it has hit Florida hard, with more than 15,000 deaths.
Democratic rival Biden arrives Florida on Tuesday. His team are focusing on the administration’s handling of the pandemic and plan to carry out a quieter but vigorous campaign in key suburban areas which they hope will help flip the state blue.