As President Trump prepares to speak at an event in Phoenix, Arizona, amid a score of trips to launch his campaign for reelection, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego urged him to wear a mask before taking the podium in her city on Tuesday.
“Everyone attending tomorrow’s event, particularly any elected official, should set an example to residents by wearing a mask,” Mayor Kate Gallego wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “This includes the President.”
According to the statement, the church has said masks would be distributed and temperatures would be taken for attendees at check-in.
Gallego took a much stronger tone on the issue of mask-wearing in Tuesday’s statement after earlier remarks in a CNN interview on Sunday. When asked on Sunday how the city’s mask policy would be implemented at Trump’s event she told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that local officials were “not going to be focused on enforcement.”
The mayor’s comments also come after eight of the president’s campaign staffers tested positive for COVID-19 after a “masks-optional” reelection rally in Tulsa on Saturday that attracted a much smaller crowd than anticipated.
Trump has routinely disregarded CDC guidelines that have recommended the use of face coverings to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Trump has turned mask-wearing into a political issue by shirking any presidential duty to set an example for protecting public health, at times even mocking his political opponents for wearing masks — describing them as weak for doing so.
The Phoenix event — “Students for Trump” — will be held at the Dream City Church and broadcast to groups around the country. Students for Trump is an initiative started by Turning Point Action, a conservative organization led by Trump ally Charlie Kirk who also authored the book “The MAGA Doctrine.” Kirk has regularly stood behind the president even when criticized by others. Most recently, Kirk responded to attempts on Monday night to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square that Trump also condemned in style reminiscent of the president. Kirk tweeted that the demonstrators were “Anarcho-terrorists” who just “hate America.” In the same tweet he advocated the use of military force against protesters who called “thugs.”
Since late May, Arizona has experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases and has become one of the country’s most active hot spots for the virus. The demand for hospital beds, intensive care units and ventilators to treat infected patients across the state has set daily records in the past week.