Trump Campaign Will 'Encourage' Masks at His Next Rally amid Pandemic, Weeks After Tulsa Debacle
At least eight of Trump's campaign staffers tested positive for the novel coronavirus in connection with his event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month
President Donald Trump's re-election campaign has announced its first rally since his fumbled assembly in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month, while the U.S. continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic that has upended many large gatherings.
Trump, 74, will make an appearance at Portsmouth International Airport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this Saturday. The rally will also reportedly take place inside a hangar there, according to CNN, and there will be space for overflow.
The campaign says there will be "ample access to hand sanitizer" and it will be giving out protective face masks "that [attendees] are strongly encouraged to wear."
The Trump campaign did not use the overflow areas set up outside the Bank of Oklahoma Center last month in Oklahoma, as roughly only 6,200 people turned out to the 19,000-capacity venue for the event, despite boasts of a million ticket requests.
The lower-than-expected turnout made headlines — as did new coronavirus infections.
At least eight of Trump's campaign staffers tested positive for the virus surrounding the Tulsa rally, which was the campaign's return to holding in-person events on the campaign trail. After two Secret Service agents tested positive for the virus as well, The Washington Post reported that dozens of other agents were told to self-isolate.
In New Hampshire, there had been 381 deaths and 5,897 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Monday morning, according to a New York Times tracker — one of the few states with a declining number of infections in recent weeks.
More than 129,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, according to the Times. Some 2.9 million people in the U.S. have been confirmed to be infected.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee to face Trump in the November election, has not held in-person rallies since the pandemic first forced widespread shutdowns and social distancing in March.
"Donald Trump wants to declare this health crisis over and unemployment solved so that he can get back to his campaign rallies. But he’s wrong — on both fronts," Biden, 77, tweeted on Sunday. "We need a president who will actually do the work needed to get us through these crises."
Trump falsely claimed on Saturday that testing has shown that 99 percent of coronavirus cases “are totally harmless."
Johns Hopkins University has estimated the virus' fatality rate in the U.S. is 4.6 percent, according to CNN.
"We look forward to so many freedom-loving patriots coming to the rally and celebrating America, the greatest country in the history of the world," Hogan Gidley, a Trump campaign spokesman, said in a statement.
Local Democrats, however, aren't as enthusiastic for the president's visit.
“Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been chaotic and woefully inadequate, resulting in thousands of Granite Staters contracting the virus and hundreds of lives lost, while causing significant damage to our state’s economy,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “Instead of helping our state safely recover, Trump is flying in for a political rally that will only further highlight the chaos he has caused.”