(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump will hold an in-person event at the White House on Saturday and a rally two days later in Florida, hosting his first public events since being hospitalized with Covid-19 and bucking criticism that the gatherings threaten to spread the virus further.
The South Lawn event on Saturday is expected to include a couple hundred guests, a person familiar with the matter said. The president will address the crowd from a distance, on the Blue Room balcony. On Monday, he plans to travel to Sanford, Florida, to address supporters, his campaign said in a statement.
The events come amid criticism that Trump’s decision to hold a crowded Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony — where he announced his pick of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court — helped spark an ongoing coronavirus outbreak at the White House that has sickened several staffers. While the White House had a testing regime in place to screen for virus cases, few guests wore masks and attendees mingled and sat in close proximity to one another both indoors and outdoors.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, earlier Friday called it a “super-spreader event.”
Trump will remain at the White House this weekend, people familiar with the matter said. He said on Thursday that he wanted to hold rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania on Saturday and Sunday.
Trump has been eager to return to the campaign trail as Democratic nominee Joe Biden widens his lead just weeks before the Nov. 3 election. Trump has released recorded video messages saying he’s well, and his physician said in a statement Wednesday that the president had been free of symptoms for the previous 24 hours.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump “will be clear to go” on Saturday, when “he