"It's opening up far faster than anybody thought even possible, and more successfully", said Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed the rise in cases and now faces a steeper path to re-election in November. Public health experts had warned against attending the rally, expressing fear that it would become a hotspot for the coronavirus.
The president did not wear a mask when he visited a medical swab manufacturing plant in ME on June 5 to tout increased production of testing supplies. Tennessee and Alaska had record numbers of new cases. Others, such as Florida - which reported more than 10,000 new cases on Thursday, smashing its single-day case record - continue to refuse to change course. "We are still down almost 15 million jobs and the pandemic is getting worse, not better". Jerome Adams, the U.S. surgeon general, had tweeted later that month.More news: Judge lifts ban on ‘tell-all’ book by Trump’s niece
"He has not done the hard work to put in place the protections to ensure that our economy can reopen strongly, and that's part of what we're starting to see and that's why we're seeing people feeling a tremendous amount of fear". "If I'm in a group of people where we're not 10 feet away - but usually I'm not in that position and everyone's tested".
Trump has famously been adamant about not wearing facial coverings. "I had a mask on for a period of time", he said. Yes, sure, at some point.More news: Former presidential candidate Herman Cain hospitalized after COVID-19 diagnosis
Trump added: "We're headed back in a very strong fashion ..." In his attempts to perform that 180, though, he's wound up in a face plant instead after saying he looks like the "Lone Ranger" in a mask. During a tour of a Ford Motors facility earlier this year, for example, Trump did his best to avoid getting his picture taken while wearing a mask, quipping that he didn't want to "give the press the pleasure" of seeing him with one on. Trump contradicted that viewpoint weeks ago during a Fox Business interview, when he said he believes the virus is "going to sort of just disappear" - echoing similar sentiments he had at the beginning of the crisis in March.
A separate report on Thursday said that 1.43 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the final week of June.More news: LeBron James Reacts To Lakers JR Smith Signing