Trump’s post-hospital White House appearance takes on campaign rally themes

Oct. 10 (UPI) — President Donald Trump turned his first post-COVID public appearance into a campaign rally on the White House South Lawn Saturday, nine days after was hospitalized for the coronavirus infection.

Thanking supporters for prayers and well wishes for himself and the first lady, within minutes Trump had referred to his Democratic presidential opponent as “Sleepy Joe Biden,” had boasted about the border wall and delivered other material typical of a campaign speech.

“We gotta vote these people into oblivion. Into oblivion. Gotta get rid of ’em. So bad for our country,” the president said.

About 400 people attended the invitation-only event. Trump called the event a peaceful protest for law and order and blamed the “radical Socialist Left” for civil unrest in U.S. cities this summer.

“Where there is evidence of wrongdoing by police, the criminal justice system must investigate and any perpetrators must be held accountable,” Trump said. “But we must never allow mob rule.”

Event organizers of Candace Owens’s BLEXIT Foundation paid for travel and lodging of some attendees and demanded that they wear matching shirts, ABC reported Saturday. Attendees were asked to wear masks, but were packed tightly together, not following social distancing guidelines.

Attendees were also scheduled to attend a pro-law enforcement rally in Washington, D.C.

The speech lasted about 18 minutes, much shorter than Trump’s usual campaign rally remarks, which can last more than an hour.

Trump, with flesh-colored bandages visible on his hands, downplayed his time at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and said he was returning to the campaign trail.

“I feel great,” he said. “We are starting very, very big with our rallies and with our everything,” Trump promised. The president has rallies planned in Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa next week.

The speech ended with supporters chanting “four