President Trump is expected to hold an in-person, “law and order”-themed event at the White House on Saturday, his first public engagement since testing positive for COVID-19 less than two weeks ago, according to a White House official.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the event’s planning, said Friday that the gathering will happen on the South Lawn, with Trump set to deliver remarks to “peaceful protesters for law and order.”
Trump’s speech coincides with a preplanned event hosted on the South Lawn by controversial right-wing activist Candace Owens, likely explaining the official’s “protesters” reference.
Trump’s resumption of public events comes just nine days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, raising concerns that he could still be contagious.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 patients should quarantine for at least 10 days after symptoms first appear to avoid spreading the virus that’s killed more than 213,000 Americans.
Severely ill patients and people with preexisting conditions should quarantine even longer — “up to 20 days,” the CDC says.
Trump, who’s 74 and clinically obese, got so sick from the virus that he had to be hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center last weekend and put on supplemental oxygen because he registered trouble breathing.
Nonetheless, White House Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s personal physician, said Thursday that the president was clear to resume “public engagements” as of Saturday.
Trump, who’s trailing Joe Biden in nearly all polls with less than four weeks to go until Election Day, has been itching to get back on the campaign trail while quarantining at the White House.
Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, said Trump could be putting himself and others at serious risk by hosting the Saturday event, especially since dozens of White House staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 since last week.
“He likely needs 20 days isolation,” Wen tweeted. “(And) the White House is an epicenter of a major outbreak that hasn’t been fully investigated.”
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