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Media signatureDonald Trump took off his mask as he prepared to address his supporters on the lawn below
Donald Trump gave a speech to cheering supporters in the White House on his first public appearance since his hospital stay.
The event was officially a “peaceful protest” but, according to critics, looked like a Trump rally.
The president, who says he is no longer taking any medication for Covid-19, told the crowd he felt “great”.
The White House has not released any information on the president’s health since Thursday.
It is unclear whether the president remains contagious after his three-day hospital stay with Covid-19.
Joe Biden’s campaign said the Democratic candidate tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday ahead of a planned campaign trip to Pennsylvania.
Polls suggest that Mr Biden is a single-digit lead over Mr Trump, and an ABC News / Ipsos poll found that only 35% of Americans agreed to Mr Trump’s management of the coronavirus crisis.
More than 210,000 Americans are known to have died from Covid-19.
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What did Mr Trump say at the White House event?
Saturday’s White House meeting was organized in part by a foundation called “Blexit,” which aims to get black and Latin American voters to support the Republican Party.
The unmasked president railed against Mr Biden, describing the Democrat’s program as “beyond socialism – communist, that’s about right”. Mr Biden is widely seen as a moderate Democrat.
Mr Trump reiterated his previous claim that he has done more for the black community since Abraham Lincoln than any other president – a claim that the BBC previously verified.
While most of the crowd wore masks, there seemed to be little social distancing
While Mr Biden has the edge in national elections, in practice the U.S. presidential election is determined in key states where both candidates have a chance of winning, rather than by the total number of votes won – as Hillary Clinton discovered at her expense in 2016.
The president’s campaign team says it plans to attend a “big rally” in Florida – a battlefield state in next month’s presidential election – on Monday, followed by trips to Pennsylvania and Iowa.
Mr Biden expressed disbelief over the president’s plans to hold rallies and criticized the Trump administration’s negligent attitude towards mask use as reckless.
“I wouldn’t show up if you didn’t have a mask and could have your distance,” said Mr Biden while fighting in Las Vegas on Friday.
What’s the latest on the President’s health?
Mr Trump told Fox News that he felt “really, really strong” and stopped taking medication after receiving his “end doses of almost everything”.
On Thursday, the President’s Doctor, Sean Conley, said it would be safe for him to return to public engagements on Saturday [10 October] as this would mark “Day 10” since his diagnosis on Thursday October 1st.
After his diagnosis, Mr. Trump spent three nights in the hospital and was treated with the steroid dexamethasone, the antiviral drug remdesivir and a cocktail of antibodies manufactured by the Regeneron company.
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The CDC recommends self-isolating at least 10 days after the first onset of coronavirus symptoms, which may require more serious medical conditions such as hospital treatment that could potentially last up to 20 days.
What about the debates?
The second presidential debate between Mr Trump and Mr Biden next week has been officially canceled.
The Presidential Debate Commission said in a statement Friday that both campaigns had announced “alternative plans for that date”.
At the request of the commission, Mr Trump had refused to hold the showdown virtually on October 15 in order to minimize the risk of the spread of coronavirus.
The commission, which is a non-partisan body responsible for organizing general election debates, said it was still making arrangements for the third and final presidential debate on October 22nd in Nashville, Tennessee.
Joe Biden spent Friday campaigning in Nevada
The Trump campaign said the commission was “biased” against Mr Biden, while the Democratic team accused the president of avoiding the debate.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in Washington, announced legislation on Friday to set up a commission to assess a president’s suitability for office.
Ms. Pelosi said it was not intended to rule on Mr. Trump’s condition. In any case, it is unlikely that the measure will be seriously examined before the election.