WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump will return to the campaign trail this weekend after his bout with coroanvirus, hosting one event at the White House on Saturday and then resuming his trademark rallies with an event in battleground Florida two days later.
Trump expects to speak from a balcony at the White House on Saturday, two people with knowledge of the event told USA TODAY. Hundreds of people are expected to attend, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The gathering will become Trump's first campaign event since he announced last Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Trump was hospitalized for three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and has not been seen publicly since his release on Monday, except for a series of videos released by the White House.
Two days after the White House event, Trump will resume the campaign rallies that have been a signature of his re-election campaign.
The campaign announced that Trump would hold a rally in Sanford, Florida, on Monday - his first such rally since Sept. 30. The Florida rally had originally been scheduled for Oct. 2, but was canceled after Trump was hospitalized with COVID0-19.
The campaign had discussed staging an event in Pittsburgh, but that was never scheduled.
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Planning for the White House event comes as Trump has been criticized for an official event on the South Lawn on Sept. 26. Many attendees later tested positive for the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci described that event, to mark the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, as a "super spreader."
Trump has also faced criticism for using the White House for political events. The president delivered his formal acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention this summer from the South Lawn.
An official said precautions would be taken to maintain the safety of the crowd at Saturday's event. All attendees must bring a mask and will be instructed to wear it on the White House complex. They also must submit to a Covid-19 screening, which will include a temperature check and a brief questionnaire.
The White House has repeatedly declined to say when Trump last tested negative for COVID-19 prior to his positive test result last Thursday that resulted in a three-night stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
A White House memo released Thursday night announced said Trump had completed his course of therapy for COVID-19 "as prescribed by his team of physicians." White House physician Dr. Sean Conley cleared Trump to return to public life on Saturday, 10 days since his diagnosis.
"Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday's diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President's safe return to public engagements at that time," Conley said in the memo.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say patients are supposed to quarantine for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms - in Trump's case, last Thursday.
Trump's decision to host hundreds of people for Saturday's campaign event drew immediate derision from critics.
"I really want to know who is itching to go to the White House event," political commentator Amanda Carpenter wrote on Twitter, adding that White House staff don't count.
Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, tweeted: "I would rather attend an event at the Reston Monkey House."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Presidential election: Trump to stage campaign event at White House