What Trump Said at His First Rally Since COVID Diagnosis

Including a promise, which went unfulfilled, to kiss everyone in the audience
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2020 12:57 AM CDT
What Trump Said at His First Rally Since COVID Diagnosis
President Donald Trump tosses face masks into the crowd as he arrives for a campaign rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Sanford, Fla.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump on Monday night hosted his first campaign rally since he tested positive for COVID-19, and he told the outdoor crowd at a Florida airport that he's now immune to the coronavirus. "I feel so powerful," he said, per Politico. "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." The AP reports thousands attended the event, at which Trump spoke for an hour, with a voice perhaps somewhat scratchy but with no other apparent lingering effects of his ailment. Mask-wearing was "spotty," per the outlet, and social distancing was nonexistent. Trump also said of the pandemic, which has so far killed more than 215,000 in the US, "I have such respect for the people of this country the way they've handled it. It's been an incredible love-fest together."

Trump, who walked directly off Air Force One and onstage, per WESH, touted the federal government's response to the virus and praised Florida for reopening, noting that "the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself." (The state has the third-highest number of cases in the country.) If Joe Biden wins next month, Trump claimed he'd institute a "draconian unscientific lockdown" and delay a vaccine. Meanwhile, of his own administration, Trump said, "Under my leadership, we're delivering a safe vaccine and a rapid recovery like no one can even believe. If you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered the way we have recovered." Trump—who, despite his talk of doling out kisses, kept his distance from audience members—has campaign events in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin this week. He reportedly has tested negative for the virus on consecutive days, though there's no evidence he's truly immune. (More coronavirus stories.)

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