It’s been a while (read: a couple weeks) since Donald J. Trump has been allowed to hold a rally, and for good reason: He caught COVID-19. As though written by one of the great, classical tragedians, the president tested positive for the very virus whose severity he’s spent the last nine months playing down. In yet another hairpin twist, he got better. Last week he took a cocktail of experimental drugs that had him making even less sense than usual. Now, allegedly coronavirus-free, he’s back on the trail, telling supporters some new alarming things, like that he wants to “kiss everyone.”
Trump was in Sandford, Florida on Monday — the day the state confirmed 1,533 additional COVID cases, plus another 48 deaths. The rally occurred mere hours after his doctor claimed he’d tested negative on consecutive days. He certainly seemed jubilant, speaking to his usual maskless crowd about how polls show him crushing his opponent Joe Biden (they don’t), threatened to jail him, Obama, and (still) Hillary, and, course, greatly inflated his team’s response to the pandemic that’s once again been seeing another uptick. (This comes a day after he got busted for taking the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most trusted member of his task force, out of context in an ad.)
Speaking of which, he couldn’t help but tell the adoring crowd how great he felt, just a week over he spent a few days at Walter Reed when his condition worsened. Now that he’s had a deadly disease, he feels better than ever, he says. “They say I’m immune. I feel so powerful,” Trump raved. “I’ll watch into that audience, I’ll walk in there, kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women.”
"They say I'm immune. I feel so powerful. I'll watch into that audience, I'll walk in there, kiss everyone in that audience. I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women." — Trump pic.twitter.com/JvhmagVrVA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 12, 2020
It didn’t take long for Trump to walk that back a bit, albeit without admitting he spoke incorrectly. “They say you’re immune. I don’t know for how long,” he said. “Some people say for life, some people say for four months.”
There was more to come. For one thing, Trump went back to talking about how the border wall is near completion (it isn’t), and still repeating, years later, that Mexico will pay for it (more unlikely now than even then). But the “kiss everyone” line seemed to be the stand-out line of the night, especially considering he could still be contagious.
unhinged: Trump says he’s now immune from coronavirus and ready to kiss anyone in his rally audience
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) October 12, 2020
Trump: “I feel so powerful. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys & the beautiful women. Just give you a big fat kiss.”
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) October 12, 2020
"The nice part, I went through it. Now they say I'm immune. I feel so powerful. I'll walk into that audience. I'll walk in there, I'll kiss everyone in that audience. I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women—everybody," Trump in Florida, 11 days after announcing has coronavirus pic.twitter.com/4ZQH0mBAU0
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 12, 2020
Some pointed out that this is the same man who, four years earlier, nearly lost his first election after a tape surfaced of him bragging about sexual assault.
This extremely weird moment also brought to mind Trump telling Billy Bush in 2005: "I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women, I just start kissing them…Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy." https://t.co/S5Xns16Kaf
— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) October 13, 2020
"I just start kissing them! It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything."
Billy Bush: "Whatever you want."
Trump: "Grab em by the pussy. You can do anything!" https://t.co/opVEgVEsCb
— Karen DaltonBeninato (@kbeninato) October 13, 2020
(Via New York Daily News)