The event in Nevada — his second rally in the state in as many days — did not only risk the health of those present, thousands of whom were packed together inside a manufacturing facility in defiance of the state’s ban on local gatherings of 50 people or more. It also has the potential to turn into a super spreader event that could seed Covid-19 outbreaks in the wider community. Trump hadn’t held an indoor rally in nearly three months, since his last one, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after which the city saw a surge in cases and multiple campaign staffers along with Secret Service agents tested positive for the virus.
The jarring scenes of the indoor event clashed with footage from the first weekend of NFL games that went ahead in cavernous empty stadiums, reflecting how almost alone the President, who might be expected to set an example, is responsible for the most dangerous breaches of his own government’s coronavirus recommendations.
CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that major television networks, including CNN, decided not to send their crews and correspondents into the rally for their own safety. It’s not unusual for media companies to take steps to shield their employees in war zones abroad, but such precautions are exceedingly rare on home soil.
Accelerating efforts to reshape reality
In a new example of the President picking conspiratorial or fantastical positions that match his political goals, rather than those rooted in fact and science, he complained over the weekend that California’s raging wildfires were the result of poor forest management. This is in line with his previously expressed belief that state governments need to “rake” and “clean” forest floors to remove the kindling for wildfires. Many scientists have said that drought and longer fire seasons are a direct consequence of climate change and have produced peer-reviewed studies to back up their conclusions. But such a conclusion is inconvenient to the President’s desire to promote fossil fuels and would require him to challenge conservative orthodoxy.