Cases of Covid-19 are climbing both nationally and within President Donald Trump’s team.
Still, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have kept holding public events. Staffing and staging ahead of any presidential event is complex, even without the pandemic. But now, when the President or Vice President is on the move, it puts their staff members and guests at greater risk.
Following Trump’s Tulsa rally, eight campaign staffers and two Secret Service agents who were onsite for the rally tested positive for coronavirus. The rest of Trump’s campaign staff who attended quarantined the following week.
Then, ahead of an Arizona event, eight Secret Service agents assigned to Pence’s detail tested positive for coronavirus right before Pence was scheduled to travel there. The trip was pushed back by a day to swap out the sick agents for healthy ones.
Herman Cain, a 2012 presidential candidate and co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, also attended Trump’s Tulsa rally (and was pictured not wearing a mask). He subsequently tested positive for coronavirus and experienced symptoms so severe he was hospitalized last week, though Cain’s spokesperson said it was impossible to know whether Cain contracted the virus at the rally.
On Friday, before Trump’s pre-Independence Day celebration at Mt. Rushmore, Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive for coronavirus. Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., attended both the Tulsa rally and Trump’s visit to an Arizona megachurch.
And just one exposure to coronavirus can send shockwaves. Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte suspended in-person campaigning for his gubernatorial bid in the state after his wife and running mate attended an event with Guilfoyle.
Despite all that, Trump has another campaign event on the docket. He’s headed to New Hampshire this weekend for a rally at the Portsmouth International Airport. The crowd will be inside the airplane hangar and can overflow onto the tarmac.
The Granite State is one of the few states with declining coronavirus cases. New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said today he would wear a mask to greet Trump and that “it is imperative that folks attending the rally wear masks.”
The Point: Trump’s upcoming rally is still risky for those involved, even though cases are declining in New Hampshire.