Trump Makes First Public Appearance Since Leaving Walter Reed


The gathering on Saturday was not a campaign event, White House officials said, although most attendees wore “Make America Great Again” red caps, and the president’s speech was filled with attacks against his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Sleepy Joe Biden’s betrayed Black and Latino Americans,” Mr. Trump said, as part of his attempt to win over more than the 8 percent of Black voters he won four years ago.

In late August, Mr. Trump also spoke at the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn, delivering his acceptance speech for the nomination in front of the same balcony where he stood on Saturday, continuing to play down the virus despite its entry into his own orbit.

“It’s going to disappear,” he said on Saturday, after underscoring recent “flare-ups” in other countries. He added that “the therapeutics are going to help a lot” and claimed, without evidence, that a vaccine was coming out “very, very quickly.”

The appearance came as Mr. Trump was scheduled to hold his first campaign event on Monday evening in Sanford, Fla., with events in Pennsylvania and other parts of Florida set for later in the week. Late Saturday night, hours after the event had concluded, the White House physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, issued a doctor’s note that said the president was “no longer considered a transmission risk to others” and described the president as “fever-free for well over 24 hours,” noting that “all symptoms improved.” He did not indicate whether the president had tested negative for the virus.

For days, Mr. Trump has been pressing advisers to let him resume campaigning, and the White House event on Saturday was a compromise from advisers who wanted to delay the president’s re-entry on the campaign trail.

The gathering was also the latest effort by the president to show he was not as sick as news outlets, including The New York Times, reported last weekend, when he was said to have been administered supplemental oxygen. In a Fox News interview on Friday night, Mr. Trump denied that he had experienced any trouble breathing and said he was no longer taking any medications.



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