Trump Hosts Yet Another Campaign Rally at the White House

Remember when stuff like this just didn’t happen?

Trump delivering a campaign speech from the White House balcony to supporters on Saturday.Erin Scott/CNP/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Barely over a week after President Donald Trump tested positive and was hospitalized for COVID-19, he spoke for 17 minutes from a balcony, maskless, to roughly 500 supporters packed tightly beneath him on the White House’s South Lawn. 

The event, which gave the president a desperately-sought venue after days away from the public, had the same appearance, tone, and apparent goals of any campaign rally. Even so, White House spokesperson Judd Deere had earlier insisted to reporters that it was “an official event,” not a campaign event, and that no campaign staff would be involved. 

The maneuvering called to mind how Trump used the White House, a federal government facility, during August’s Republican National Convention as a backdrop for several highly choreographed and video streamed segments, and as the site of his keynote address accepting renomination by the party. Federal law generally prohibits the use of government property or resources by officials for campaigning or other purely political activity. Trump did it anyway.

Sarturday’s event was hosted by Blexit, a group boosting African American Trump supporters that was cofounded by Candace Owens. Blexit paid for the travel of some audience members, according to ABC News.

Trump’s words to the admiring crowd left little ambiguity about whether he was conducting politics. “We gotta vote these people into oblivion,” he said. “Into oblivion. Gotta get rid of ’em. So bad for our country.” 

“This is the single most important election in the history of our country. Get out and vote, and I love you,” he added, to a crowd that regularly interrupted his remarks with cheers and applause. 

In August, Walter Shaub, the director of the United States Office of Government Ethics from 2013 and 2017, railed against Trump’s Republican National Convention speech from the White House, warning then that it was “a harbinger” of things to come. 

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate