WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Saturday made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after being treated for the coronavirus.
Trump delivered an address on his support for law enforcement from Blue Room balcony to a friendly crowd. The president wore a mask as he walked for the speech but took it off to make his remarks. He received an enthusiastic response from his supporters.
“I’m feeling great,” said Trump, who said he was thankful for their good wishes and prayers as he recovered.
He also claimed that the coronavirus will "disappear" and said a COVID-19 vaccine "is coming out very very quickly" – "in record time," Trump added – without providing evidence for either statement.
The event took place place exactly two weeks after the White House Rose Garden ceremony where President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court – an event that the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, called a "superspreader event."
Several attendees of that event contracted COVID-19, including Trump, first lady Melania Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and two Republican Senators: Mike Lee (R-UT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
Saturday's event featured Trump making "remarks to peaceful protesters for law and order," and was organized by organized by conservative activist Candace Owens' group Blexit, which urges Black Americans to leave the Democratic Party.
"Every day more Black and Latino Americans are leaving behind left-wing politicians and their failed ideology," Trump said.
Trump spoke from a White House balcony, giving the the American people their first live view of the president since he returned to thie White House after spending the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
He removed his mask as soon as he began his remarks before speaking for 18 minutes – relatively short for Trump, who often speaks for over an hour at his rallies. The crowd largely wore masks, as well as red MAGA hats and blue BLEXIT t-shirts.
Trump slammed Democrats as part of his remarks about law and order.
"Democrats have run nearly every inner-city in America and, I mean, for 100 years, and their policies have delivered nothing but calamity, poverty and trouble," he said.
The president has not been seen publicly since his return Monday, though he has expressed his desire to get back out on the campaign trail, with Election Day just 25 days away. Trump pulled out of the second presidential debate on Oct. 15 after the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates said the event would be virtual, and a flurry of new polls show Trump trailing his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, in key battleground states such as Florida and Pennsylvania.
The Trump campaign announced that the president will hold his first in-person rally since his COVID-19 diagnosis next week in Sanford, Florida.
Trump wil speak to supporters Monday evening at the "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport, the campaign said.
Trump was supposed to speak in Sanford on Friday, October 2, but that rally was postponed just hours after he announced on Twitter he'd tested positive for the coronavirus. Preparations had been well underway when the announcement was made, with bleachers set up at the airport.
The Sunshine State's 29 electoral college votes are crucial to Trump's re-election bid.
Trump also announced two new rallies: A rally Tuesday in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and one Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.