[guest post by Dana]
Apparently the campaign is planning on resuming the boisterous rallies sooner rather than later:
President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is set to relaunch in-person campaign rallies in the next two weeks, campaign manager Brad Parscale confirmed to CNN.
“Americans are ready to get back to action and so is President Trump. The Great American Comeback is real and the rallies will be tremendous. You’ll again see the kind of crowds and enthusiasm that Sleepy Joe Biden can only dream of,” Parscale said in a statement.
The exact time and locations of the rallies have yet to be determined, but the campaign is in the process of outlining possible dates and venues…
The president is looking forward to an opportunity to speak directly to supporters, and focus on the economy:
He’s planning to use the events to drive home what is expected to be a major theme of his campaign: that he is the leader of the country’s reopening and economic rebound. Trump held a hastily-called press conference Friday to celebrate an unexpectedly strong jobs report, and his campaign immediately began running a massive ad campaign seizing on the news.
Concerns about large crowds gathering during a pandemic were answered with a pointed question from the president’s re-election campaign:
“Why should anti-Trump protesters be out there and not us?” a campaign adviser asked.
“While Trump is likely to face blowback for resuming in-person events while the coronavirus pandemic is still ravaging the country, his advisers contend that the recent massive protests in metropolitan areas will make it harder for liberals to criticize him.”
Reports confirm what we already know: Trump is anxious to get back on the campaign trail and rally his supporters. In spite of blaming his slipping poll numbers as FakeNews, he knows that, at five months out from the election, he needs to get his base excited about the election, and make sure they are committed to turning out for him in November.
The decision to resume rallies comes on the heels of well-attended and nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd. While elected officials had cautioned Americans to adhere to lockdown orders and not attempt to reopen businesses or congregate in churches before the all-clear was given, they have voiced support for the mass protests this past week, even though the pandemic is not over. And while health experts repeatedly warned Americans about the need to stay home, follow social distancing measures, and avoid large groups, some have decided that less science, more ideology is the way to go:
Clearly, this is a problem for Team Science:
[I]f we have a huge spike in cases because of these protests, will they say, “Well, it was worth it to end racism”? Maybe, except they won’t have ended racism. Sure, some will plausibly argue that any COVID-19 comeback was the result of evil Republicans reopening the churches and the barber shops. But that will be dismissed for the partisan hogwash and special pleading it will be.
And, if we don’t see a huge spike in COVID-19 cases after all of this, no one will believe the experts when we head into the fall (when it’s supposed to come back) and they say now we really mean it. So we’ll still have an intolerable amount of racism…and we’ll have another economy-crushing outbreak on our hands.
And, if—God willing—it doesn’t come back strong in the fall, well, no one will ever take these people seriously again, and for understandable reasons.
The Trump campaign is said to be considering a number of factors about where to hold the rallies with regard to coronavirus concerns, including the the level of outbreak at any possible location, and holding rallies at outdoor venues. Nonetheless, the plan is to assemble a large crowd in a limited space. Look, the issue shouldn’t be about *who* is protesting or rallying, or even the cause itself. Not if we’re talking about real health risks. All large gatherings are going to present some sort of health risk during the pandemic, especially if everyone involved is not observing social distancing measures and wearing a mask. If we see a spike of infections in the next two weeks or so as a result of the ongoing protests, then it’s just as likely that Trump rallies will also result in spike of Covid-19 cases within 14 days after the events. This isn’t hard. Large groups, we have been warned by medical professionals, increases the risk of transmission. But we also know that all causes are not equal. And that’s my gripe: elected officials need to be evenhanded and consistent in lockdown limitations and in deciding what is essential, and even more critical to Americans is the need for health officials to be consistent in their messaging about the risks surrounding Covid-19. Said messaging must be science-based, and not ideological. Americans need to to be able to trust what the health care experts are saying as much as possible. Health care professionals speaking in a professional capacity, who approve of the mass protests because they believe the cause is worth the health risk, are making determinations for Americans that are not theirs to make. If they are speaking in a professional capacity, that determination should be influenced by data and science, not personal preference. Fortunately, Dr. Fauci remains consistent in his concerns about large gatherings, and reminded us as recently as last week about the health risks large crowds present:
“It is the perfect set up for the spread of the virus in the sense of creating some blips which might turn into some surges…there certainly is a risk,” said Fauci
“It’s a difficult situation. We have the right to peacefully demonstrate and the demonstrators are exercising that right,” he continued. “It’s a delicate balance, because the reasons for demonstrating are valid and yet the demonstration itself puts oneself at an additional risk.”
Unsurprisingly, I note that the press is determined to differentiate between Trump rallies and George Floyd protests with the use of the word “despite”.:
A crowd is a crowd is a crowd. And coronavirus really doesn’t care who makes up the crowd, or why they are assembled. But if you decide that attending a protest or a rally is worth it, then just wear a mask the entire time you are in attendance, and keep a healthy distance from your neighbor. And Team Science, we need you to be just that. As for politicians being consistent and evenhanded, well, we all know better than to think that is even a possibility…