Donald Trump speaks of keenness to return to campaign despite Covid diagnosis

President Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House
President Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House - (Copyright AP)
2:19am, Wed 07 Oct 2020
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US President Donald Trump has tweeted his eagerness to return to the campaign trail as he continues to make progress in his recovery from Covid-19.

Mr Trump returned to the White House on Monday and continues to recover behind closed doors as more of aides tested positive, including one of his closest advisers Stephen Miller.

Meanwhile, the president declared there would be no action before the election on economic-stimulus legislation – an announcement that came not long after the Federal Reserve chairman said such help was essential for recovery with the nation reeling from the human and economic cost of the pandemic.

As for Mr Trump’s own recovery, his doctor, Navy Commander Sean Conley said in a letter that the president had a “restful” night at the White House and “reports no symptoms”.

Four weeks away from Election Day, and Mr Trump is eager to project strength and tweeted on Tuesday morning that he was planning to attend next week’s debate with Democrat Joe Biden in Miami and “It will be great!”

Mr Biden, for his part, said he and Mr Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains Covid positive.

Elsewhere in the government, the scope of the outbreak was still being uncovered.

On Tuesday, the nation’s top military leaders including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and the vice chairman, General John Hyten, were in quarantine after exposure to Admiral Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard.

It was not known how Mr Ray contracted the virus, but he attended an event for military families at the White House on September 27.

Also testing positive on Tuesday was Mr Miller, a top policy adviser and Trump speechwriter, who has been an architect of the president’s “America First” foreign policy and restrictive immigration measures.

Mr Miller’s wife, Katie Miller, who serves as communications director to Vice President Mike Pence, had the virus earlier this year.

She had been in Salt Lake City with Mr Pence where he is preparing to debate Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, but she left as soon as she found out about her husband’s diagnosis, officials said.

When I saw him on the balcony of the White House, taking off his mask, I couldn’t help but think that he sent the wrong signal

On Monday, Mr Trump made clear that he has little intention of abiding by best containment practices, when he removed his mask before entering the White House after his discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre.

His attitude alarmed infectious disease experts, and it suggested his own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease which has also infected the first lady and more than a dozen White House aides and associates.

Republican Senator Susan Collins said: “When I saw him on the balcony of the White House, taking off his mask, I couldn’t help but think that he sent the wrong signal, given that he’s infected with Covid-19 and that there are many people in his immediate circle who have the virus.”

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