U.S. President Donald Trump made his first public appearance since returning to the White House on Monday from a three-day stay in hospital for COVID-19, even as his aides remained silent on whether he is still contagious.
Trump spoke from the White House balcony at an event called 'a peaceful protest for law & order,' attended by a few hundred people standing on the lawn below. His appearance is seen as a first step toward resuming full campaigning next week.
The White House has not released the results of Trump's latest COVID-19 test, and has declined to say when he last tested negative. A White House spokeswoman said on Friday that Trump would be tested for COVID-19 and would not go out in public if it was determined he could still spread the virus.
Trump, who has campaigned on a law-and-order theme during recent months of sometimes violent protests for racial justice, was due to tell Saturday's gathering that rogue police officers would be punished for any wrongdoing. But, he will add, "We must never allow MOB rule."
Trump's efforts to portray himself as tough on crime have had little impact on his standing in national opinion polls, which show him trailing his Democratic challenger Joe Biden by double digits. But the gap between the two candidates is narrower in the battleground states that may determine who wins the White House.