President Donald Trump’s rally at Xtreme Manufacturing on September 13 in Henderson, Nevada.
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
President Donald Trump is “not at all concerned” about contracting the coronavirus during his rallies because he is “very far away” from people, he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Thousands of Trump supporters flocked to the president’s indoor rally on Sunday in Henderson, Nevada, defying state orders that limit gatherings to 50 people.
A Trump campaign spokesman stood by the decision, saying people can “gather peacefully” at such rallies if they can “join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots.”
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President Donald Trump said he was not afraid of contracting the coronavirus at his campaign rallies, where public-health guidelines to limit its spread are loosely followed, if at all.
“I’m on a stage and it’s very far away,” Trump told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “So I’m not at all concerned.”
Related: 6 times Trump contradicted coronavirus public officials
The president on Sunday held his first indoor rally in nearly three months in Henderson, Nevada, at a facility run by the construction-equipment company Xtreme Manufacturing. While Trump stood by himself on a stage, thousands of his supporters — many without masks — were packed close together.
The event flouted Gov. Steve Sisolak’s executive order limiting gatherings in Nevada to 50 people. It also ignored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that people can avoid getting sick by wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance.
Sisolak denounced the Trump campaign’s decision to host the event as “shameful, dangerous and irresponsible.”
But Trump’s team defended the move.
“If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the president of the United States,” Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement.
Trump did not respond to a question posed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on whether he was concerned about risking the health of people who attend his rallies.
The last rally Trump held fully indoors was on June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Health experts and state leaders were concerned the event could act as a superspreader event because research suggests large indoor gatherings are responsible for most coronavirus transmission.
Following the rally, several Trump staffers and allies, including former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, tested positive for the coronavirus. Cain died of COVID-19 on July 30, but it remains unclear if he picked up the virus at the BOK Center.
As of Monday, Nevada has recorded 73,650 cases and over 1,450 virus-related deaths, while national figures exceed 6.5 million cases and more than 194,000 deaths.
Sunday evening’s rally also came amid recent criticism that Trump had publicly downplayed the virus in March despite knowing long before then that it posed a severe threat to public health.
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