The White House had not made public the results of President Trump’s latest coronavirus test, which he claims he took on Friday. But Mr. Trump, eager to prove he had fully recovered a week after being hospitalized for Covid-19, appeared briefly on Saturday afternoon in front of hundreds of chanting supporters gathered at the White House.
“We’ve got to vote these people into oblivion,” Mr. Trump said, re-entering the arena with his signature bluster and without any acknowledgment that he might still be contagious to those around him. His short speech, delivered from the Blue Room balcony overlooking the South Lawn, was the first time he has been seen in public since leaving the hospital on Monday. (A television interview with Fox News that aired Friday night had been pretaped.)
Mr. Trump, who emerged wearing a white surgical mask, peeled it off as he began his remarks. His voice sounded strong and his aggressive message playing down the threat of the virus was unchanged. But the event that the White House had previewed as a huge “peaceful protest for law and order” was uncharacteristically brief.
White House officials said the president would speak for 30 minutes, but he kept his remarks to just 18 minutes in total. A typical Trump rally, in contrast, often runs for at least 90 minutes. A large bandage on top of his right hand was a reminder of the treatments and infusions he had received over the past week. And atypical for a president who usually keeps his crowds waiting, Mr. Trump started right on time.