Trump holds rally de­spite surge in Covid-19 in­fec­tions

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTWORLD - Yash­want Raj yash­want.raj@hin­dus­tan­times.com

WASH­ING­TON: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Satur­day told sup­port­ers at an elec­tion rally in Tulsa, Ok­la­homa that he had or­dered of­fi­cials to slow down test­ing for Covid-19 as it led to more cases.

“You know test­ing is a dou­ble edged sword,” Trump said,. “When you do test­ing to that ex­tent you’re go­ing to find more cases. So I said to my peo­ple slow the test­ing down.”

His re­marks came as Covid-19 cases in the US rose the most in three weeks as in­fec­tions topped 30,000 for a sec­ond straight day on Sun­day, adding to con­cern about a resur­gence. Tulsa county, where Trump held the rally, on Sun­day re­ported a record high of 143 cases in the last 24 hours.

The cam­paign of pre­sump­tive Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den slammed Trump’s ad­mis­sion on test­ing as an “an out­ra­geous mo­ment” that showed he “is putting pol­i­tics ahead of the safety and eco­nomic well-be­ing of the Amer­i­can peo­ple”.

Trump un­leashed months of pent-up griev­ances about the coro­n­avirus, which he dubbed the “Kung flu,” a racist term re­fer­ring to its ori­gins in China. He also tried to de­fend his han­dling of the pan­demic.

But his in­tended show of political force fea­tured thou­sands of empty seats and six new coro­n­avirus cases on his own cam­paign staff, hours be­fore the rally be­gan.

Based on an es­ti­mated 1 mil­lion RSVPs, the cam­paign had planned an in­door rally and one out­doors for the spillover crowd. No one showed up for the out­door event.

Ev­i­dently sur­prised and em­bar­rassed the cam­paign sought to blame pro­tes­tors and me­dia for the low turnout.

“Rad­i­cal pro­tes­tors, cou­pled with a re­lent­less on­slaught from the me­dia, at­tempted to frighten off the Pres­i­dent’s sup­port­ers. We are proud of the thou­sands who stuck it out,” Tim Mur­taugh, a cam­paign spokesman, said.

There were spo­radic in­ci­dents of clashes be­tween Trump sup­port­ers and pro­tes­tors, but not as wide­spread or of a scale as por­trayed by the Trump cam­paign.

Po­lice used pep­per balls in once in­stance, Tul­saworld, a lo­cal news pub­li­ca­tion, re­ported. One pro­tester was ar­rested, but he was demon­strat­ing peace­fully.

In a speech last­ing al­most two hours, the pres­i­dent slammed Bi­den seek­ing to tie him to the an­tiracism protests that have ripped through the coun­try over the past weeks, marked by vi­o­lence, loot­ing and clashes with law en­force­ments forces.

On Sun­day, White House of­fi­cial Peter Navarro said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion was pre­par­ing for a sec­ond wave of Covid-19 . “We are fill­ing the stock­pile in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a pos­si­ble prob­lem in the fall,” he told CNN.

AFP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ad­dresses the Tulsa rally.

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