President Donald Trump spoke publicly on October 10 for the first time since testing positive for the coronavirus. Speaking from a White House balcony on Saturday afternoon, the president kicked off his return to the campaign trail just three weeks before the election. However, the event was over after only 17 minutes, prompting many Twitter users to speculate about the president’s health.
Just nine days after testing positive for COVID-19, Trump spoke from the Blue Room balcony to a crowd of his supporters on the South Lawn. Many of the attendees are members of the conservative movement known as “BLEXIT,” founded by Candace Owens.
Trump began his speech with a call to his supporters to “vote these people into oblivion,” followed by an assurance that he’s “feeling great.” But some users online said they were surprised when his speech ended before the 20-minute mark.
Watch: To loud cheers, President Trump begins his first post-coronavirus diagnosis speech by telling his adoring fans at the White House, "we gotta vote these people into oblivion. Into oblivion. Gotta get rid of 'em. So bad for our country." pic.twitter.com/mlYzyJNPf4
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) October 10, 2020
Fox News also pointed out the notably short length of Trump’s address. “Fox News anchor Arthel Neville notes that speech was under 20 minutes. ‘That’s really short for president Trump,’ she said,” Washington Post journalist Jeremy Barr tweeted.
After Trump’s September 30 rally speech in Duluth, Minnesota — the president’s last public appearance before revealing his COVID-19 diagnosis — Heavy reported that his speech was “just about 46 minutes in length,” which was notably shorter “than his normal 90-minute speeches.” For example, Trump’s September 22 rally speech in Pittsburgh ran about 90 minutes.
CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller tweeted, “It was a markedly brief speech by Trump standards, about 17 minutes, and filled with campaign boilerplate. His audience mostly young people wearing Blexit t-shirts in support of law enforcement. Emblazoned with the slogan ‘Blacks and Latinos back the blue.””
It was a markedly brief speech by Trump standards, about 17 minutes, and filled with campaign boilerplate. His audience mostly young people wearing Blexit t-shirts in support of law enforcement. Emblazoned with the slogan “Blacks and Latinos back the blue.” pic.twitter.com/eD2xg7KXmA
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 10, 2020
One person tweeted, “I assume that utterly pointless speech from Trump lasted for only 15 minutes as he can’t yet speak for longer than that without coughing his lungs up.”
Trump looked better but very briefing speech for trump, must have being only 17 minutes with pauses. Looks a beaten man to me #Election2020
— Tom furness (@Tomfurness2) October 10, 2020
— Orlando Cabrera (@ocabrera_VA) October 10, 2020
Donald Trump gave a short speech on the white house balcony.
— Outspoken Marc. (@MARCANDERSONNWO) October 10, 2020
Another person tweeted, “Trump must still be really weak after his hospitalization. His WH rally only lasted about 15 minutes, shortest rally in his political career. Before the rally he went out in the crowd to infect some of his supporters. SAD.”
Trump’s Hoarse Voice ‘Gave Out’ During Call With Sean Hannity on October 8
— SisterhoodTribe555🌈⚖️ (@SisterhoodTribe) October 9, 2020
Donald Trump returned to the White House on Monday, October 5, following a three-day stay at Walter Reed Military Medical Center after testing positive for coronavirus. In an interview Thursday, his voice was hoarse and he had to stop and clear his throat.
The president hasn’t been seen in public since he gave a salute and two thumbs up from the balcony on Monday. On Thursday, Trump made his first call into Fox News since his hospitalization, and while speaking with Sean Hannity, his voice sounded hoarse. At one point in the conversation, it ‘gave out’ entirely, Vox journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted. Trump, 74, was talking about “oscillating” his mic during his debates with Hillary Clinton in 2016 when his voice grew increasingly hoarse and he had to pause to clear his throat.
Yikes. Trump's voice is extremely hoarse and at one point gave out. pic.twitter.com/kf0gwNyPCI
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 9, 2020
During the conversation, Trump refused to answer when he last tested positive for COVID-19 but said he planned on attending his scheduled rally in Florida on Saturday night, along with Sunday night’s rally in Pennsylvania. “I feel so good,” Trump told Hannity. But he again struggled not to cough while discussing absentee ballots.
On Thursday, the president’s physician Sean P. Conley put out a statement that Trump “has completed his course of therapy for COVID-19,” and that he will be able to “return to public engagements” on Saturday.
In an interview when he repeatedly paused to cough or catch his breath, Trump says he wants to resume campaign travel in days and won’t say when he’s been tested. Trump has not been seen independently in person since returning from the hospital on Monday night.
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) October 9, 2020
The CDC states that people infected with COVID-19 need to wait 10 days after their symptoms first appeared, be fever-free for 24 hours with no medication and show improvement in symptoms before safely being around other people.
MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes remains wary of Conley’s reports. After hearing Trump’s call with Hannity, he tweeted, “I don’t think at this point there is any reason to give face value credence to the White House or president’s doctors’ pronouncements about either the timeline of his illness or his current status.”
Trump Appeared to Have Trouble Breathing Outside the White House, Causing Speculation About the President’s Health
Coronavirus in Chief, Trump takes off mask as he returns to WH. pic.twitter.com/ukCyhU1Nv0
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 5, 2020
Trump was discharged from the hospital on Monday. He tweeted, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. … I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
The president also said his illness would not derail his campaign efforts. He tweeted, “Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!! The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.”
This is quite the interesting question. After a slew of Tweets this morning…he hasn't been seen since he could barely breathe on the balcony of the #WhiteHouse. So… #WhereIsTrump ? https://t.co/AG376fSAMn
— Blue Wave Commentary #Resist #VoteBlue (@charleyw) October 7, 2020
Aside from concern for the safety and wellbeing of White House staffers with Trump’s return, Twitter users commented on how Trump appeared to have trouble breathing after removing his mask. One person tweeted, “Closeup video of trump on the balcony clearly shows that he is still having difficulty breathing.”
Did anyone else take note that @realDonaldTrump was struggling to breath when he got to the top of the @WH stairs? That’s why he stood there for so long. He was struggling.
— Cathy Rosen (@rockinrosen) October 5, 2020
Numerous people on Twitter commented on Trump’s breathing after he walked up the White House steps. One person tweeted, “I know what it’s like not to be able to breath. More asthma attacks than I can count. When I watch the tape of Trump getting back to the White House…I am willing to bet he is still having breathing issues & will be back at Walter Reed shortly. Can’t believe a word he says.”