What’s weirder than hearing a classic ’70s gay club anthem at a Republican rally in Florida? Maybe, hearing it at a rally during a deadly pandemic? However, President Donald Trump’s maskless dance performance to "YMCA" after his coronavirus diagnosis elevated his Oct. 12 rally to surreal levels of weirdness — and there’s a lot to unpack.
The rally, held at a hangar in Orlando Sanford International Airport, was the president’s first return to the campaign trail after his Oct. 1 COVID-19 diagnosis. But despite the health risks, Trump himself went without a face covering, just seven days after he was released from Walter Reed Hospital to continue receiving treatment at the White House. According to a report from Harvard Health, scientists found that "people with coronavirus who have symptoms will no longer be contagious by 10 days after symptoms resolve." On Oct. 12 (the day of the rally), White House Physician Sean Conley had only just publicly announced that Trump had finally tested negative for the virus. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the rally and Trump’s decision to go maskless, but did not immediately hear back.
Although his voice was hoarse during the event, Trump delivered an impassioned speech to his unwavering conservative base, per The New York Times. "I feel so powerful,” stated the president, who failed to wear a face covering while stepping onto Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews and flying out to Florida. “I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women. Just give you a big fat kiss.” Trump doesn’t plan on slowing down on the campaign trail anytime soon, either. According to Jason Miller, the Trump campaign’s senior strategist, the president’s regular schedule would involve "two to three events a day, and that will grow as we get closer to Election Day," Miller told reporters.
The president has previously been criticized for downplaying of the severity of the virus, thereby impeding the United States’ ability to respond to the virus. The rally was already reigniting criticisms that the president was neglecting his chance to set an example and show that he took the virus seriously. Photos at the event showed many attendees also not wearing masks.
Many also criticized Trump for a little too much jubilation in the middle of a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans. The rally delved into some bizarre territory as the president pulled out a quirky little dance number on stage to the Village People’s classic ’70s disco club anthem, "YMCA." The song has long been a staple of family-friendly events, but it was a little odd to see Trump, whose administration has enacted many policies undermining LGBTQ+ rights, grooving to a song which full of not-so-subtle references to gay cruising culture in the 1970s.
In the week since release from Walter Reed Hospital, Trump has been adamant about conveying how healthy he is. In an Oct. 11 interview with Fox News, he jokingly claimed he was a "perfect physical specimen," adding that he was just "lucky in that way." He also made some bold claims about immunity to the virus, stating "remember this, when you catch it — you get better, and then you’re immune, you know?" According to the University of Maryland Medical System, "there is currently no evidence to suggest that people are immune after recovering from coronavirus."
In total, the government-funded treatment that the president received at Walter Reed Hospital would have cost the average American a staggering six-figure sum, according to public health experts. After receiving the highest quality treatment in the country, Trump tweeted on Oct. 5: "Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life." As of Oct. 13, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 215,000 Americans.
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