Our view: Making COVID-19 worse
Trump’s indoor rallies put lives at risk
Sports are playing to empty stadiums. Theaters are dark. Restaurants are making do with take-out and outdoor dining. And schools are tying themselves in knots over how — and if — they can have in-person instruction.
But one person thinks that he is so important that he can flout all of the precautions that governments, businesses and society as a whole have implemented to halt the spread of COVID-19. That person would be none other than President Donald Trump, who kicked off this week with a large indoor rally in Nevada featuring people sitting side-by-side and generally unadorned by masks.
The rally defied a state order barring gatherings of more than 50 people and even violated the Trump administration’s own guidelines. It showed how little concern Trump has for public safety, and local officials imposed a $3,000 fine on the venue’s owner.
The rally fits with the president’s campaign of magical thinking and denial, one where he tries to wave a wand and declare the pandemic is over, or that it was overblown to begin with (notwithstanding his admission of the opposite to Bob Woodward). Trump not only thumbed his nose at states for trying to protect their citizens, he demanded that they reopen.
But the rally might best be seen as an illustration of Trump’s need for positive reinforcement. His last indoor rally, earlier this summer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a PR disaster as he took heat both for endangering public safety and for promising a crowd far larger than actually showed up.
State officials later blamed the rally for a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Tulsa area. One prominent person who attended the rally, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, was hospitalized less than two weeks later and died on July 30.
And, despite warnings that indoor venues are far more likely to produce superspreading events than outdoor sites, Trump just had to do it again. So needful is he of adoring crowds that he once again put people’s lives at risk.
Trump is endangering the public for no good reason. School officials at least have some explanation for putting people at risk. Online education is a poor substitute for in-person classes, especially with young children.
All across America, even in Trumpsupporting areas, people generally are wearing masks at grocery stores and other indoor public places. Sports leagues, cinema chains and live theater venues are sacrificing fortunes in box office revenue.
But not Trump. He puts people’s health at risk because he can get away with it. And because he wants to.
People cheer as Trump arrives for an indoor rally.