In his first public event since contracting COVID-19, President Trump told several hundred mostly minority and vocal supporters at the White House that Blacks and Hispanics are rejecting the Democratic Party’s turn toward socialism and embracing his law-and-order message.
“Black and Latino Americans are rejecting the radical socialist left, and they are embracing our pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-police … and pro-American agenda,” Mr. Trump said in an 18-minute address from a White House balcony overlooking the crowd on the South Lawn.
The president said the members of Blexit, a group headed by conservative Black activist Candace Owens, understand that “to protect the lives of Black Americans, and all Americans, you have to have the support of our police.” The crowd repeatedly interrupted him with chants of “Four more years!” and “We love you!”
The president told the group, “Get out and vote. Keep that enthusiasm going. We got to vote these people [Democrats] into oblivion.”
“If the left gains power, they will launch a nationwide crusade against law enforcement … and they’ve already done that,” he said, “taking away their funds, their firearms, and their fundamental authorities. No one is hurt more by the left-wing war on cops than African Americans. And the riots, looting, and arson disproportionately hurt Black and Latino communities.”
It was Mr. Trump’s first appearance in public since he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 1 and was hospitalized for three days. The president said he now feels “perfect,” after receiving an experimental treatment of an antibody cocktail created by Regeneron.
While the president’s speech was much shorter than his usual addresses, his voice sounded clear and strong. He ad-libbed from his prepared remarks frequently as he played up to the enthusiastic crowd.
“I want to thank you all for the prayers,” Mr. Trump said. “Through the power of the American spirit, science and medicine, we will eradicate the China virus once and for all. It is going to disappear, it is disappearing.”
Infections in the U.S. are on the rise, and about 1,000 more Americans died on Friday from the disease.
The president has said he was tested again for coronavirus on Friday and also planned to be tested on Saturday. The White House has not disclosed the results of those tests.
The president is scheduled to return to the campaign trail next week with rallies in Florida on Monday, Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Iowa on Wednesday.
The president also referred to more problems emerging with mail-in ballots around the country.
“Every day there’s a story about the ballots,” he said. “We have law enforcement watching. I think we’re going to swamp ‘em by so much, it’s not going to matter.”
More than 90 percent of Blacks typically vote for the Democratic candidate for president, and Blexit is encouraging them to leave the party. Mr. Trump’s campaign has been trying to peel away Black support from Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden, arguing that the former vice president’s policies on criminal justice and trade have been harmful to Blacks.
“Their policies have delivered nothing but calamity, poverty and trouble,” he said of Democrats. “Sleepy Joe Biden has betrayed Black and Latino Americans. If you think he can run this country, you’re wrong.”
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said the president’s speech on Saturday was not a campaign event. Guests were given masks; some appeared not to be wearing them on the South Lawn, where they were packed shoulder-to-shoulder in a fenced-in area beneath the balcony. Most supporters were wearing blue T-shirts and red Trump campaign caps.
The president called the event a “peaceful protest,” a term used by Trump supporters to describe his campaign rallies and to mock gatherings of Black Lives Matter demonstrators that sometimes turn violent. The president’s campaign accuses the media of hypocrisy for calling attention to Trump events in which people don’t wear masks or engage in social distancing, while ignoring similar behavior at social-justice protests.
He said his proposed ‘platinum plan’ for Blacks in his second term will create 3 million new jobs, increase access to capital by $500 billion dollars, and advance home ownership and wealth building.
“We will build up peaceful and safer neighborhood program …. with the highest standards of policing,” he said. “We will create a healthcare system that delivers better care at a lower cost — Obamacare is a disaster. We want to get great health care… And you have to have school choice.”
• Dave Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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