President Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail. He made his first rally appearance after recovering from COVID-19 in Florida on Monday.
Trump spoke for about an hour at an outdoor stage in Sanford, Florida to a large crowd of supporters. With three weeks left until the election and behind in most national polls, Trump was eager to resume campaigning after being sidelined with COVID-19 for several days.
He left for Florida just hours after White House Physician Sean Conley released a memo noting the president is “not infectious to others” and had tested negative for the virus for two consecutive days.
Trump contracted the virus on October 2 and subsequently spent four days at Walter Reed Medical Center. He was released to the White House last Monday and quarantined there for about ten days before testing negative.
A Few Setbacks
The president’s illness came at an inopportune time for the Trump campaign. With less than a month to the election, the president faces an uphill climb in the polls. He’s trailing in several states that he carried in 2016.
He will also have one less debate appearance to make his case to the American people after canceling the debate scheduled for October 15. The Commission on Presidential decided to change the debate to a virtual town hall format upon recommendations from the Cleveland Clinic. Although the report made no reference to the president’s recent diagnosis, some critics viewed the decision as a symptom of anti-Trump bias.
Instead of participating in the virtual debate, the Trump campaign opted for a robust rallying tour through several pivotal swing states, beginning with his Monday appearance in Florid. Next, he will go to Pennsylvania for another rally on Tuesday, Iowa on Wednesday; and North Carolina on Thursday.
Trump’s team is also running satellite rallies in key districts. Vice President Mike Pence spoke to a crowd of more than a hundred supporters in Columbus, Ohio on Monday in his second visit to the state in less than a month. In Georgia, Donald Trump Junior made an appearance in Metro Atlanta.
Biden’s Campaign Trail
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also toured Ohio on Monday. The former vice president appeared at a drive-in rally in Toledo with about 30 socially-distant cars. Later that day, he stopped in Cincinnati to meet with a small audience of voters at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Despite disparaging poll data, Trump’s campaign isn’t worried about Biden’s push in Ohio. “We are quite happy to see Joe Biden wasting a valuable day on the campaign trail in a state he won’t win in three weeks,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters.
With Election Day approaching fast, Trump’s campaign is eager to get the president back into a full rally schedule. Thankfully, it doesn’t look his COVID-19 diagnosis has slowed him down too much. “He is strong. He is energetic,” Stepien said. Additionally, Stepien mentioned, “He is raring to go. He’s our best asset.”
Despite being behind in most major polls, the campaign says it’s confident about its position going into Election Day. One Trump campaign advisory, Corey Lewandowski, told reporters, “We feel very, very good about the position we are in.”