President Donald Trump boasted about his Covid-19 immunity as he held his first rally since his diagnosis.
Trump staged a vigorous return to the campaign trail Monday night as he walked to the podium in Sanford, Fla., without a mask, throwing campaign merchandise to the crowd. Just hours before he stepped on stage, Trump’s physician announced the president was no longer infectious after testing negative for consecutive days.
To prove his medical team’s point, Trump emphasized his good health to an audience where numerous maskless people could be spotted among the dense crowd: “It does give you a good feeling when you can beat something and now they say you’re immune,” he said at the hourlong rally.
“I feel so powerful,” he said. “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.”
As Trump acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the length of his immunity, he accused unspecified people of “reducing” the immunity period to make the virus seem more severe than it actually is. The uncertainty about the length (and strength) of immunity, however, is caused by the lack of information about the virus, which has been infecting humans for less than a year. Experts have only recently documented cases of people becoming reinfected.
The president also pointed out that medical professionals have a better grasp of the virus now than they did six months ago, and said that life would go back to normal — even as health experts warn that the United States could face 200,000 more deaths by 2021. And as he thanked Americans for staying resilient, the crowd chanted, “We love you.”
“I have such respect for the people of this country the way they’ve handled it,” he said. “It’s been an incredible love-fest together.”
And with his promise for normalcy, Trump emphasized that “the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself” as he praised Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was in the crowd, for opening up businesses and tourism. However, he failed to note that Florida now has the third-largest number of cases out of all of the U.S. states, with 5,570 new confirmed cases on Sunday.
As he pushed for the opening of the economy, he claimed that Democratic nominee Joe Biden would seek a “draconian unscientific lockdown” that would delay recovery for the state.
“When you’re the president, you can’t lock yourself in a basement and say, ‘I’m not gonna bother with the world,’” Trump said. “And it’s risky, but you’ve got to get out.”
In a speech filled with many of his most familiar applause and attack lines, Trump also boasted about the size of his crowd as he mocked Biden for his smaller gatherings.
Anthony Fauci, however, on Monday expressed his wariness about holding large political rallies during a pandemic.
“Put aside the political implications the rally has,” Fauci said on CNN. “Purely for public health, we know that’s asking for trouble when you do that.”