President Trump Gives First Address since Coronavirus Diagnosis

“I’M VERY PROUD OF THIS COUNTRY”

by Sharon Rondeau

The South Portico was named for President Harry S. Truman and is also known as the “Truman Balcony” (public domain)

(Oct. 10, 2020) — At approximately 1:59 p.m. EDT, President Donald Trump emerged on the balcony of the White House South Portico to the sounds of “Hail to the Chief” and cheering from attendees on the lower lawn.

On October 2, Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19, or the “novel coronavirus,” a disease which arose in Wuhan Province, China last winter and traveled globally, infecting millions and blamed for more than 200,000 U.S. deaths.

By Sunday evening, Trump was seen traveling in a Secret-Service-escorted convoy waving to supporters who stood outside of the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center in Bethesda, MD as he recuperated. His travel outside of the hospital was approved by White House physician Dr. Sean P. Conley but widely criticized by some physicians and members of the media.

He was released at approximately 6:30 p.m. Monday evening, after which he addressed the nation from the South Portico to wide criticism that he removed his mask.

In an interview with Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel aired on Friday night, Trump said one of his symptoms was a sore throat and another a general feeling of weakness.  Conley reported that Trump received oxygen and experienced a fever on Friday, October 2.

Trump attributes his rapid recovery to an experimental intravenous therapy, Regeneron, made by a company of the same name, although he received a number of other treatments including zinc, vitamin D, aspirin, and remdesivir, according to multiple reports.

The theme of the event was described by those involved in the planning as “peaceful protesters for law and order,” ABC News reported.

According to Mark Knoller of CBS News, the turquoise T-shirts worn by many of those in attendance were “emblazoned with the slogan ‘Blacks and Latinos back the blue.’”  

Knoller also appeared to indicate that the gathering might constitute political activity despite the White House’s reported assertion to the contrary.  “WH insists South Lawn gathering is not a campaign event,” he tweeted along with a photograph of attendees standing on the lawn. “But supporters are wearing Trump Campaign caps. And Pres Trump began his remarks by hailing enthusiasm for his re-election and declaring of his opponents, ‘we got to vote these people into oblivion.’”

“We call this a peaceful protest,” Trump began his 18-minute remarks, stating the event was intended to recognize law enforcement and the efforts of “the black community” and “the Hispanic community.” As he spoke, attendees cheered.

“We’re starting very, very big with our rallies…because we cannot allow our country to become a socialist nation…or worse,” Trump said to more cheers.  Several rallies were canceled last week following his coronavirus diagnosis and hospitalization.

The president said that “powerful drugs” have proved effective against the coronavirus.  “The vaccine is coming out very, very quickly,” he added, asserting the disease will be conquered “through the power of the American spirit.”

“Every day more black and Latino Americans are leaving behind left-wing ideology…Sleepy Joe Biden’s betrayed black and Latino Americans for half a century,” he said, referring to his Democratic opponent in the November 3 election. “Opening your borders to mass illegal immigration — the wall is now 380 miles long — it’ll soon be finished.”

He claimed blacks and Latinos are “embracing” his policies and thanked Candace Owens and Brandon Tatum, both African-American supporters.  Owens is the founder of the “Blexit” movement, an author, radio host and commentator, while Tatum is a former Arizona police officer turned public speaker.

Trump further decried Biden’s policies and claimed that the moderator of the first presidential debate on September 29, Chris Wallace, “bailed out” Biden from having to answer when Trump asked Biden “how many” law-enforcement organizations have endorsed his candidacy.

“There’s been more enthusiasm = we have had more enthusiasm than we had four years ago by a factor of three times…” Trump said, amid chants of “Four More Years” and attendees waving American flags.

“I want to thank our law enforcement” and “everybody in the community,” he said at 2:08 p.m., predicting that the media would claim “He (Trump) misrepresented.”

“I think we’re going to swamp him by so much,” he said of the upcoming election, referring to Biden, in response to his own commentary criticizing widespread mail-in balloting due to COVID-19 concerns within the states.

“We are draining the swamp like nobody in history has every drained the swamp,” Trump continued.

His message on Saturday, he said, will honor law enforcers of all races and creeds.  He said Biden’s policies go beyond socialism.  “Communist,” someone in the audience said, with which Trump agreed.

He asserted that black and Hispanic “home ownership” will increase with “the best standards of policing” under his leadership and that he plans to usher in “great health care at a much less expensive price.”  “You have to have school choice,” he added, touching on another policy issue his administration has supported.

“For years, nobody was funding” HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Trump said.  “I’ve done more for the black community than anyone since Abraham Lincoln.”

He criticized ongoing “lockdowns” and said his poll numbers in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and Nevada have been “great.”  “We’re getting great polls all over the place,” he asserted, again briefly addressing himself directly to “Candace.”

“I’m very proud of this country,” he said, as well as his supporters.  “You people come out and you love your country.  The country is getting it; the country is seeing something now…” he said, as a unified cheer of “We love you” arose.

“I just want to thank you, and get out and vote…” he told the audience.  “This is the single most important election in the history of our country.  Get out and vote, and I love you.”  At approximately 2:17 p.m., pumping his fist, he thanked the supporters, the music began, and he waved goodbye, then turned to re-enter the White House.

ABC reported Saturday that it obtained an email generated by Blexit to its members mandating the wearing of the T-shirts to the event.

 

 

 

 

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