The Trump campaign is plowing ahead with in person rallies and campaign events even as several members of its staff recover from coronavirus amid a cluster of cases in the White House.
Per Politico, many state and local officials have said they’ve gotten little notice, if any, from the Trump campaign about these events — and not all of them are outdoors.
The President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., held a fairly crowded indoor rally on Thursday at a Holiday Inn in Panama City Beach, Florida, where few wore masks.
Other events have exceeded local limits on crowd size and have not strictly enforced social distancing or mask-wearing even though many of the gatherings feature Trump officials with recent exposure to the virus as speakers.
Amid his own recovery from COVID-19, President Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night that he is planning to hold a campaign rally on Saturday “if we have enough time to put it together.”
Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, who also recently announced a positive test for coronavirus, previously suggested that the President might hold an in person rally next Thursday in lieu of participating in a virtual debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence appeared at an outdoor event in Boulder City, Nevada, on Thursday where few in attendance wore masks.
Lisa LaPlant, Boulder City’s communications manager told Politico it was “disappointing” to see people in the crowd effectively disregard the state’s mandate, noting that the city had maintained a low infection rate “because of compliance and people’s willingness to follow the state directive.”
Some local officials along Trump’s campaign trail have said they fear a repetition of the chaotic scramble by health officials in Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., to determine who may have been exposed to coronavirus at events attended by the President leading up to his announcement that he had been infected with COVID-19 last week.
Public health experts have said the Trump campaign should be actively limiting crowds and encouraging social distancing and masks, a practice that has been largely ignored by Trump’s cohort.
Georges Benjamin the executive director of the American Public Health Association told Politico that campaign events of all sizes should be scheduled in coordination with local officials, noting that much of Trump’s campaign staff are “coming from an environment where there’s been a major outbreak.”