President Trump may or may not be infectious. Those who know won’t say.In a masterfully misleading tweet - so inaccurate it was flagged and partially blocked by Twitter - Trump wrote: “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”
Of course, both those claims are open to dispute. As Twitter put it, the tweet violates rules by “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information.”
His doctors did state on Saturday that the President is no longer a “transmission risk to others.” But that’s not the same as saying he has tested negative.
At any rate, the President is seeing this as a green light to resume his election campaign on Monday for the first time since he was struck down by the virus.On Monday night he will be in Sanford, Florida, 30 miles north-east of Orlando. There’s no secret why he’s here.If he loses Florida on 3 November - a distinct possibility - Trump’s prospect of winning re-election slumps dramatically.
Plus, there would be the added humiliation of losing his home state - this is now where he votes and he has cultivated Florida like few other states.It’s reported that Trump - who has always craved the adoration and validation of a loyal crowd - is demanding that his strategists organise a campaign rally every single day between now and Election Day.
That’s 22 rallies in 22 days - and no doubt he will seek to squeeze in many more. If Covid has physically or mentally weakened him, we are about to find out.So this is a President itching to escape the confines of Washington and to take his re-election message out to voters.Of course that may not be enough. The polling looks increasing dire. The second presidential debate has been cancelled. There are diminishing opportunities for Trump to turn this election around.But his fight-back begins in central Florida. Whether it will be anything more than a conspiracy-laden provocation of a speech remains to be seen.
I suspect he cannot change his tune now, and it’s probably too late to be reaching out to independent and undecided voters. Tens of millions of Americans - including five million Floridians - have already voted. Monday night will be quite a moment in the history of US politics: a President who was recently in hospital, and who may still be infectious, is hitting the campaign trail and asking Americans to take the risk of attending his rallies in a desperate attempt to revive a re-election effort that’s in complete disarray.