President Donald Trump told supporters in Florida on Monday that he wanted to give them “a big fat kiss, while also erroneously declaring he has developed immunity against COVID-19.
“I went through it, and now they say I’m immune. I feel so powerful. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience,” Trump said on stage in Sanford, Fla., during a campaign rally, his first since being diagnosed with the virus on Oct. 1 and subsequently hospitalized at Walter Reed. “I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss.”
The CDC says there’s no evidence of immunity, Trump’s reckless claims run counter to all federal public health agencies’ guidance related to coronavirus. The CDC and other organizations worldwide have stated there’s evidence the disease can be caught more than once.
Moreover, and outrageously, Trump urged his supporters at the Monday night rally to “get out” more, even as the American death toll surged above 215,000: “You have to get out, and it’s risky, it’s risky, but you have to get out.”
It appears Trump, who danced to The Village People’s gay sex-positive classic “Macho Man,” has also acquired a Superman complex: “It does give you a good feeling when you can beat something, and now they say you are immune.”
However, his new campaigning is fraught with tremendous hazard. The CDC notes COVID-19 patients suffering severe symptoms, like Trump, can be contagious for up to 20 days. Given that the Florida rally came just 12 days after his diagnosis and hospitalization, Trump may still be “shedding” the virus onto other people.
Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, released a memo before the rally maintaining the president “is not infectious to others,” though there is some argument for that qualification. According to Conley, Trump has tested negative “on consecutive days,” but the timing of the tests remains in question.