Donald Trump will resume in-person campaigning on Saturday after being sidelined by a case of COVID-19, but a debate next week against his presidential election opponent Joe Biden was cancelled because Trump refused to participate.
Trump will address a crowd of supporters on Saturday from a White House balcony on a “law and order” theme, an administration official said.
The crowds expected to assemble are in hundreds, and all may be asked to wear facemasks.
Then the Republican president will travel on Monday to central Florida, a state crucial to his hopes of winning a second term in the November 3 election.
He will stage his first campaign rally since his coronavirus diagnosis at an airport in the town of Sanford. The campaign did not disclose if it would be held in a hangar with doors open, as it has in the past, or entirely outside.
As the president prepared to return to the trail, the body that oversees presidential debates said the match-up between Trump and Biden, the Democratic candidate, scheduled for October 15 had been formally cancelled.
Trump refused to participate in what was supposed to be the second of three debates with Biden after the Commission on Presidential Debates switched it to a virtual contest in the wake of the president’s illness.
The final debate on October 22 is said to take place.
Questions remain about whether Trump still remains contagious.
In an appearance on Fox News on Friday evening, Trump said he was tested again for the virus but did not disclose the result. He also said he had stopped taking medications to combat it. “I feel really strong,” Trump said.
The illness has kept him from holding public rallies and attending fundraisers at a critical juncture of the campaign. He trails Biden in opinion polls with just weeks to go before the election.
Attendees at the Florida rally will be given a temperature check, masks that they will be encouraged to wear and access to hand sanitizer, the campaign said.
Biden sharply criticized Trump’s decision to resume campaigning. “Good luck. I wouldn’t show up unless you have a mask and can distance,” he told reporters in Paradise, Nevada.