The President’s public campaigning must go on, Trumpworld insists.
A day before President Trump’s rally scheduled in Miami, several prominent figures in Trump’s orbit joined the President in hyping his return to the campaign trail, amid unanswered questions on his condition following his return to the White House after his four-day hospitalization at Walter Reed.
During an interview on Fox News on Sunday, Trump attempted to take full advantage of White House physician Dr. Sean Conley’s vague memo issued the night before — which declared Trump as no longer at risk of transmitting COVID-19, but does not address when he last tested negative — by making the unfounded assertion that he is now “immune” from COVID-19. Conley’s memo did not conclude that the President is now immune from COVID-19.
Trump also defended his first major public appearance since returning to the White House the day before during his Fox News interview by asserting that because he was on a balcony, “there was nobody even close to me.”
Here’s how Trumpworld figures responded when pressed on the President’s return to the campaign trail, during Sunday morning interviews:
Larry Kudlow, White House economic adviser
When asked about the risks of Trump holding rallies, Kudlow said that “the operations people signed off” on the President’s public appearance on the White House lawn on Saturday. Kudlow then took a cue from the President by pointing to Conley’s memo as justification for Trump’s return to the campaign trail.
“Dr. Sean Conley released a document that said the President is healthy, he’s abided by the CDC, he is no longer contagious. I think that fits the bill,” Kudlow said. “I have not seen the President in the last few days. I have spoken to him on the phone. A lot of people who have been with him said he’s fine, he’s peppy, he’s been smart, again, and he really is in healthy condition. So, it seems like the conditions are being met.”
Kudlow added that Trump “will go on ahead” because “this election needs to be fought out.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow points to Dr. Sean Conley's memo as justification for Trump's return to the campaign trail pic.twitter.com/CN9VAHPAZ2
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 11, 2020
Eric Trump, the President’s son and Trump Organization Executive VP
When asked about the failure by the President’s team to abide by safety precautions during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, which include violating rules by the Commission on Presidential debates to wear masks in the hall, Trump said that he is “happy to wear a mask” before pivoting to ranting about how Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden supposedly backed out of the debate that was set to take place in Miami on Thursday.
“He didn’t want to stand on the stage with my father and that should tell you everything you need to know about him. Literally, my father wants nothing more than to debate on Thursday. And Biden wouldn’t show up,” Trump said. “I mean the only thing he would do is — he would do a Zoom call and my father, maybe, he’s a traditional guy.”
After saying that the President “didn’t want to do a glorified conference call for a presidential debate,” ABC News’ Jon Karl jumped in to clarify that it was President Trump himself who pulled out of the debate after the CPD said it would be virtual.
Trump’s adult son reiterated that the President is opposed to “a glorified conference call” and that “he wants to stand on the stage,” before adding that his father would still debate Biden in-person in Miami on Thursday if the former VP agrees to do so.
“My father wants to stand on the stage with his opponent," and "doesn’t want to do it over a glorified conference call,” Eric Trump tells @jonkarl when asked if the Trump campaign will decline to participate in Oct. 22 presidential debate if it’s virtual. https://t.co/R7EgB0oaON pic.twitter.com/s7Vl6T9MY6
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 11, 2020
Lara Trump, Trump campaign senior adviser and daughter-in-law
Much like the President, Lara Trump told Fox News on Sunday that “if the White House doctor says that he is free of transmission I think that sounds like he’s done with the coronavirus.”
Trump then said that the President “should be able to go out and get back on the road campaigning” in light of Conley’s memo issued late Saturday, and that he “certainly should be able to do a debate” in Miami on Thursday.
Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Committee chair
Although she did not directly address Trump’s condition following his discharge from Walter Reed following treatment for COVID-19, McDaniel — who tested positive for COVID-19 amid a recent outbreak among people in Trump’s orbit — also pivoted to attacking Biden when asked whether the RNC will begin resuming in-person fundraisers, during an interview on CBS.
“We’re going to do everything we need to do,” McDaniel said, before launching into a rant that accuses Biden of “running on the biggest power grab in history.”
McDaniel grew more defensive as CBS anchor Margaret Brennan tried to circle back to the question of whether the President will do any in-person fundraisers ahead of the November election.
“Joe Biden is running on the biggest power grab in history, and you guys want to talk about fundraising protocols?” McDaniel said. “He is saying he’s going to stack the Supreme Court, get rid of the filibuster and he’s being given a free pass.”
McDaniel continued plowing on with her argument that the media should be focused on Biden packing the Supreme Court — which the former VP has deflected on when asked recently — before asking: “Who cares if we have fundraisers?”
Brennan replied “because it’s the President,” while McDaniel continued her rant attacking Biden.
IN PERSON FUNDRAISING DURING #COVID? "We're going to do everything we need to do" @gopchairwoman tells @margbrennan.
"Who cares if we have fundraisers?" the @RNC chair adds when pushed on health precautions. WATCH → pic.twitter.com/MaEVaYufjY
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 11, 2020