President Trump warned his supporters on Saturday that the United States was at risk of becoming a socialist country if Joe Biden were to be elected in November and that Americans should ‘vote the Democrats into oblivion.’
The president made the remarks while standing on the balcony of the White House before a large crowd of supporters that had gathered on the South Lawn.
It was the first public event held by the president since his release from the hospital last week. Trump spent four days at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, after contracting coronavirus.
‘I’m feeling great… We’re starting very big with our rallies… because we cannot allow our country to become a socialist country,’ he told the crowd.
President Trump (seen above on Saturday) addressed hundreds of supporters on the South Lawn of the White House in his first public event since returning from the hospital last week
The president warned that Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent, would turn America into a ‘socialist’ country.
Trump hit out at Biden, his Democratic rival, calling him ‘sleepy Joe’ and saying he ‘couldn’t even say the words law enforcement the other day’ as supporters chanted ‘four more years’.
‘Sleepy Joe Biden has betrayed Black and Latino Americans. If you think he can run this country, you’re wrong,’ Trump said.
The president claimed Biden wants to defund the police, though the former vice president has denied this.
Trump then went on to say black communities should support law enforcement.
‘You understand that to protect the lives of black Americans, and all Americans, we must support our police,’ he said.
He blasted ‘the left’ for ‘launch[ing] a nationwide crusade against law enforcement’ and mocked BLM demonstrators.
‘Biden likes to call them peaceful protesters,’ Trump said to the crowd who responded with boos.
‘Where there is evidence of wrongdoing by police, the criminal justice system must investigate and any perpetrators must be held accountable. But we must never allow mob rule,’ he said.
Trump walked out onto the White House balcony to the crowd of around 400 people Saturday as the Marine Band played ‘Hail to the Chief’
The crowd of around 400 supporters donned Blexit DC Back the Blue t-shirts and MAGA caps as they descended on the White House in their droves to see the president hold his first event since his diagnosis
Trump delivered an address on his support for law enforcement from the Blue Room balcony to a friendly crowd.
The president wore a mask as he walked out for the speech but took it off to make his remarks. He received an enthusiastic response from his supporters.
The president spoke for just 17 minutes at the event, which was organized in partnership with Candace Owens’ Blexit group, a campaign urging black Americans to shift from Democrats to Republicans.
The White House has refused to declare that he is no longer contagious, and the gathering of hundreds of people on the South Lawn went ahead despite the guidance of public health officials.
“I’m feeling great,” said Trump, who said he was thankful for their good wishes and prayers as he recovered.
Trump is also priming for a Florida rally on Monday and campaign events in Iowa and Pennsylvania later in the week.
Before the speech, White House officials said they had no information to release on whether the president was tested for COVID-19, meaning he made his first public appearance without the White House verifying that he’s no longer contagious.
Security was stepped up around the White House before the event, which was called a “peaceful protest for law & order.”
Police and the Secret Service closed surrounding streets to vehicles and shut down Lafayette Square, the park near the White House that has long been a gathering place for public protest.
As questions linger about his health – and Democratic opponent Joe Biden steps up his own campaigning – Trump also planned to leave the Washington area on Monday for the first time since he was hospitalized for a campaign rally in Sanford, Florida.
He is also scheduled to hold campaign events in Iowa and Pennsylvania next week and is increasing his radio and TV appearances with conservative interviewers, hoping to make up for lost time with just over three weeks until Election Day and millions already voting.
Biden’s campaign said he again tested negative on Saturday for COVID-19.
Biden was potentially exposed to the coronavirus during his September 29 debate with Trump, who announced his positive diagnosis barely 48 hours after the debate.
The president spoke for just 17 minutes at his much-anticipated return to re-election campaigning which was organized in partnership with Candace Owens’ Blexit group, a campaign urging black Americans to shift from Democrats to Republicans
Trump gives his crowd a thumbs up as he insisted he felt ‘great’ at the event at the White House Saturday
During the unusually short speech from Trump he laid into ‘sleepy Joe’ and claimed he has achieved great things for black communities across America
While most were seen wearing masks in the grounds of the White House, masks were nowhere in sight among the very same crowd of people as they held a Blexit rally at The Ellipse just before the main event
Saturday marks only day nine since Trump was diagnosed with the virus, meaning he may still be contagious and could have risked more lives – such as those of event organizers and security – by demanding the event go ahead
Trump congratulated his record for supporting the black community saying he has ‘done the most for the black community since Abraham Lincoln’ and said black Americans need to support law enforcement
The president has not been seen in public – other than in White House-produced videos – since his return five days ago from the military hospital where he received experimental treatments for the coronavirus.
Most in the crowd that gathered for his speech on supporting law enforcement wore masks, but there was little social distancing.
Saturday’s speech comes two weeks after his Rose Garden event that has been labeled a ‘superspreader’ for the virus.
More than two dozen people linked to the White House have contracted COVID-19 since the president’s September 26 event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court.
On Saturday, all attendees were required to bring masks or would be provided with them, and also were given temperature checks and asked to fill out a brief questionnaire.
Trump’s Monday event in Sanford, Florida, what he’s described as a ‘BIG RALLY,’ was originally scheduled to be held on October 2, the day after he tested positive.
Ahead of his Saturday event, Trump used Twitter to share news articles about problems with mail-in ballots in New Jersey, Ohio and Texas.
Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that universal mail-in voting is beset by widespread fraud.
Trump’s return to public activity came as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, cautioned the White House again to avoid large-scale gatherings of people without masks.
He said of the Barrett event in an interview with The Associated Press, ‘I was not surprised to see a superspreader event given the circumstances.’
That means ‘crowded, congregate setting, not wearing masks. It is not surprising to see an outbreak,’ he said.
District of Columbia virus restrictions prohibit outdoor gatherings larger than 50 people, although that rule has not been strictly enforced.
Masks are mandatory outdoors for most people, but the regulations don’t apply on federal land, and the Trump White House has openly flouted them for months.