WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (April 29) he will resume flying around the country from next week and looks forward to holding "wild" campaign rallies as soon as he can.
Mr Trump told reporters in the White House that he is "going to Arizona next week and we look forward to that". This will be his first cross-country trip since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the United States.
He added that he will visit Ohio, one of the key swing states in the November presidential election, "very soon". The Arizona trip is focused on the economic recovery effort and is not a campaign rally, "because it's too soon" for crowded events in stadiums, Mr Trump explained.
But the Republican - facing a tight re-election battle against Democratic challenger Joe Biden and burdened by dire approval ratings - made clear he wants to get back to his once frequent rallies as soon as possible.
"Hopefully in the not too distant future we'll have some massive rallies and people will be sitting next to each other," he said.
"I can't imagine a rally where you have every fourth seat full.... That wouldn't look too good," he added.
"I hope that we're going to be able to do some good old-fashioned 25,000 person rallies where everyone's going wild because they love our country."
At a meeting with industry leaders, Mr Trump sounded an upbeat message, insisting that the US economy will quickly bounce back from the staggering costs of the shutdown required to stop the spreading novel coronavirus.
Despite some experts' warnings that widespread social distancing will have to remain in effect until a vaccine is made, Mr Trump predicted that the danger would fade by itself and said that the US was equipped to extinguish any "embers".
"We're looking for vaccines, we're looking for therapeutics also," he said. "I'm not relying on that (vaccines), I hope that's going to happen."
"I want to get back (to a full economy) with or without (a vaccine), but obviously we have to wait till it's gone. It will be gone," he said.
Asked how the virus would be eradicated without a vaccine, which is not expected to be available soon, Mr Trump responded: "It's going to go. It's going to leave, it's going to be gone, it's going to be eradicated."