Making his grand return to the campaign trail, Donald Trump headed south down to Sanford, Florida, to conduct his first rally since contracting COVID-19 on Monday evening. Landing in his Air Force One plane on the tarmac just beside the stage, Trump was welcomed by thousands of supporters, many of which not wearing face masks and the majority of whom paying no regard to social distancing.
The event had been criticized beforehand by numerous people, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. On CNN just hours before Trump’s rally in Florida, Fauci told Jake Tapper that the president is “asking for trouble” in conducting an event of this scale with no safety measurements taken. In Florida, particularly, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently lifted all coronavirus restrictions. As the state and the country as a whole continue to see an uptick in positive cases, Fauci, who finds himself also in a dispute with Trump’s campaign team of a quote he said misrepresented him, said this as a worse a time to hold a rally as there could be.
The crowd here waiting for Donald Trump in Florida is not socially distanced. 1,500 new cases here today. pic.twitter.com/1UuIQQMFCT— Richard Hall (@_RichardHall) October 12, 2020
During the rally, Trump continued to tell his supporters that he feels great after experiencing the coronavirus firsthand. He even went as far to say he feels “so powerful” now. To drive home his point, Trump told the crowd he’d even head into the audience and “kiss everyone” in attendance. As he has tweeted before, Trump also stated that he is now “immune” to contracting COVID-19 again.
Here’s a look at the large, and largely mask-less, crowd listening to Trump in Sanford, FL. pic.twitter.com/u6jsFzJ9rO— Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) October 12, 2020
While Fauci urges against Trump hosting rallies, Florida marks just the first stop on what will be a busy week on the trail for the president. His team has lined up rallies in Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Carolina. He is seeking to make up for lost time while out of commission briefly after being placed under care at Walter Reed medical center before eventually being released after a weekend in the facility. He now is placing a full-court press on doing what he can to best position himself ahead of the Nov. 3 election in three weeks that will pit him against the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.