President Donald Trump is trying to get his reelection campaign back on track by lying about being immune from coronavirus, just six days after he left the hospital.
He first made the claim Sunday in an interview on Fox News, where it went unchallenged. Later in the day he doubled down on social media, saying: “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”
Twitter flagged the tweet, placing it behind a warning label that said it violated the company’s policies for “misleading and potentially harmful information.”
Facebook, however, has left the post untouched on its platform. So far it has been shared 36,000 times, with 705,00 reactions and 66,000 comments.
Facebook has yet to respond to questions about why the claim about immunity does not violate its policies about COVID-19 misinformation. VICE News reported last week that Facebook was allowing the Trump campaign to run dozens of ads which featured a video in which Trump claimed he may be immune from COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), whose guidance the White House says it is following, is clear that there is no evidence that people who were infected with coronavirus were immune to reinfection in the following three months.
Trump’s own doctor Sean Conley said late on Saturday that Trump was no longer at risk of passing on coronavirus, but did not confirm if Trump had tested negative and didn’t mention immunity.
Trump told Fox News on Sunday that he “beat this crazy, horrible China virus,” with the help of an experimental cocktail of drugs that he described falsely as a “cure.”
“To me, it’s a cure, it’s much more than a therapeutic,” Trump said. “Once you’ve recovered, you’re immune. I am immune… maybe for a short time, maybe for a long time. The president is in very good shape,” Trump said, adding that immunity gave him a “protective glow.”
Trump also claimed that his doctors told him that he was “totally free of spreading. There's no spread.”
But the CDC says on its website that in some cases those infected with the coronavirus can remain infectious for up to 20 days after they first present with symptoms. While there is still some dispute around the exact timeline of when Trump first tested positive for COVID-19, he is still at least a week away from passing that 20-day mark.
Despite this, Trump has lined up three campaign rallies in three swing states in the next three days. He will travel to Sanford, Florida, on Monday night, followed by events in Pennsylvania and Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Trump continues to trail Democratic nominee Joe Biden in all major polls ahead of next month’s vote. The latest survey, A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday, had Biden leading Trump on 54%-42% among likely voters.
Trump has asked his campaign to put him on the road every day until the election on Nov. 3,” Axios reported Sunday. The details are still being finalized, but some within the campaign are questioning the tactic. “He’s going to kill himself,” one adviser told Axios.
Cover: With two bandages on his hand, President Donald Trump removes his face mask to speak from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)