US presidential election: how Donald Trump is (already) going into the campaign, continuing to be positive about Covid-19

The American president announced his return to the presidential campaign on Saturday, only nine days after the announcement of his contamination with the coronavirus. Sunday, he even said he was now “immune”.

There will have been barely seven days between his positive diagnosis for Covid-19, Friday, October 2, and the announcement of his return to the race for the White House. Thursday, October 8, US President Donald Trump said he was ready to participate in a campaign rally on Saturday evening, during an interview with Fox News. “If we have enough time to organize it (…) we want to have a meeting, probably in Florida“said the Republican leader, a few days after his release from the Walter Reed military hospital.

This meeting could not take place, but another – “disguised as an event at the White House”, according to CNN * was held on the lawn of the US presidential residence, Saturday, October 10 in Washington. Donald Trump gathered several hundred supporters there, before the resumption of his campaign meetings on Monday. Three are planned in three days, now three weeks before the presidential election.

From the reassuring (but opaque) communication of his doctor to the resumption of his meetings, franceinfo deciphers this return of Donald Trump in the campaign which opposes him to Joe Biden, without much change of tone on the coronavirus epidemic, at 23 election day, November 3.

A partial (and positive) communication about his state of health

As CNN explains, the President and Republican candidate had already been very vague, but very optimistic, Friday on Fox News, about his state of health and his infection with Covid-19. “I was retested and what I know is I’m at the bottom of the ladder or released” virus, he said. A fuzzy answer that does not mention the result – positive or negative – of his last test. “It’s really at a level that is very good, very good at seeing the virus go away”, he added vaguely.

A speech followed by his doctor, Sean Conley, on Saturday. The latter, already criticized for his speeches lacking in transparency and rigor, assured that Donald Trump had “overall extremely well reacted to treatment” that he had received. “The American president is no longer contagious”, he said, without confirming that his last test was negative. His viral load “decreases”, he simply clarified.

“Tonight I am happy to report that in addition to the fact that the president meets all CDC criteria (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for a safe end to the isolation, the Covid PCR test this morning shows, with regard to currently recognized standards, that it is no longer considered to be risky to transmit (the virus) to other people “, welcomed Sean Conley in a statement, eight days after the announcement of Donald Trump’s positive test. In the United States, the CDC recommends * isolation for ten days after the onset of the first symptoms, to be extended up to twenty days in the event of a severe form of Covid-19.

“It looks like I’m immune, for, I don’t know, maybe a long time, maybe a short time, maybe for life. Nobody really knows but I’m immune,” even said the US president on Sunday, in a telephone interview on Fox News.

An official speech … in the air of a meeting

The event had been presented as official by the White House. On Saturday, Donald Trump delivered a speech of just under 20 minutes from a balcony of the presidential residence. A speech on the theme of “law and order”, held however … in front of some 500 supporters of the American president, received on the lawn of the White House, underlines The world. Many wore the now famous “Make America Great Again” cap, a symbol of Donald Trump’s campaign. “Four more years! Four more years!”, could we hear in the crowd, raise the Washington Post *.

As the American newspaper specifies, Donald Trump did not hesitate to mention his campaign during this “official” speech. “We start very strongly with the meetings”, he told his crowd of supporters, adding that they could not “let [leur] country to become a socialist nation “, in reference to his Democrat and running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris. “We’re going to overwhelm them so much”, he assured in front of a conquered audience.

Appeared with a mask, the president quickly removed it at the start of his speech. In front of him, the participants were them, required to remain masked, but it is difficult to say if all followed this rule, underlines the New York Times *. The participants had to fill out a questionnaire and their temperature had to be taken at the entrance. However, no physical distance was observed between them during the presidential speech.

Supporters of Donald Trump await his speech from the White House lawn on October 10, 2020 in Washington (United States). (SAMUEL CORUM / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

“I feel very good !”, Donald Trump immediately asserted, appearing in good shape. Once again, and even after being ill himself, the president promised that the Covid-19 was coming soon “vanish”. “All over the world, we are seeing big outbreaks in Europe, big outbreaks in Canada (…) Lots of outbreaks. But it will disappear”, did he declare, without once mentioning the evolution of the epidemic in his country.

I want you to know that our nation is going to defeat this terrible Chinese virus. We are making powerful therapies and drugs, we are healing the sick, we are going to get over it and the vaccine is going to come very, very fast.Donald trump during a speech to supporters at the White House

The United States, the country most affected and the most bereaved in the world by the Covid-19 pandemic, has recorded around 7.7 million cases of contamination and nearly 215,000 deaths linked to the virus. The number of new daily cases is on the rise again, as shown by the American Johns Hopkins University *, which is the benchmark in the field.

Three gatherings in three days

The (official) return of the American president to the campaign is imminent. On Saturday, his campaign team announced two new meetings at airports next week, one in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and one in Iowa on Wednesday. They will follow a meeting in a first airport on Monday in Florida, a capital state in the presidential race.

Donald Trump, barely out of the disease, will therefore hold three meetings in just three days. One way to quickly regain control of his campaign, in “pivot states” (the famous “swing states”) where he seems to be losing ground. In Pennsylvania, the outgoing president is in decline according to the latest polls, notes FiveThirtyEight *. The gap with Joe Biden is narrower in Iowa and Florida, but Donald Trump is also retreating there, underlines the American site.

After the meeting at an airport near Orlando on Monday, the Republican leader will travel to Johnstown on Tuesday, then to Des Moines (Iowa) airport on Wednesday, said the New York Times *. The daily adds that the temperature of all participants will be taken before these meetings, and that each will receive a mask that he must wear. Will these rules be respected? In Des Moines, for example, wearing a mask is compulsory, but no sanction is provided for in the event of an infringement of this measure, as explained in the Des Moines Register *.

In recent months, several cases of Covid-19 contamination have been linked to events organized by Donald Trump’s team. This was the case in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the number of cases had increased significantly in early July, after a campaign rally by the president-candidate where a large majority of participants did not wear masks. More recently, nine people who attended a president’s meeting in Minnesota tested positive, reports CNN *. Two of them were hospitalized, including one in intensive care.

* All these links refer to pages in English.

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