As Iowa passes a sobering milestone — 100,000 Iowans have now been infected with COVID-19 — Gov. Kim Reynolds is encouraging people to pack President Donald Trump’s Des Moines rally on Wednesday.
The outdoor rally at the Des Moines airport is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., the third in a series of rallies from Trump in the immediate aftermath of his COVID-19 infection.
“Make sure to request your free tickets for the upcoming rally w/President @realDonaldTrump. It will be this Wednesday at 6:00 PM in Des Moines!” Reynolds tweeted late this afternoon. “Protect Iowa’s future, and show your support for President Trump!”
With Trump already under fire for his reckless behavior during his bout with the virus, health officials are concerned both that Trump may still infect others himself, or that large crowds of maskless attendees will drive local positive cases higher. The White House doctor today cleared the President, saying he’s tested negative in two consecutive days, but questions remain about the truthfulness of Trump’s physician over the past few weeks.
Regardless of whether Trump himself may still be infectious, a mass gathering of Trump supporters who are themselves skeptical of the virus and rarely wear masks in Iowa’s largest city threatens a needless outbreak, more infections, hospitalizations and even death. Despite that, Reynolds wants Iowans to show up to boost Republicans’ electoral hopes.
“Gov. Reynolds looks forward to attending Wednesday’s rally that is taking place outside,” her spokesperson later stated. “She will continue to take precautions and is encouraging those attending to adhere to public health steps the campaign is taking, such as temperature checks, and the use of hand sanitizer and masks.”
To attend the Des Moines event, you have to agree to a waiver that you understand the risks of possibly catching the virus.
“In attending the event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and waive, release, and discharge Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; the host venue; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers from any and all liability under any theory, whether in negligence or otherwise, for any illness or injury,” reads the sign-up form.
At Trump’s rally tonight in Florida, few attendees wore masks.
Waiting for Trump rally outside Orlando, very few supporters wearing masks, including many senior citizens. pic.twitter.com/nKdPkI1n7G
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 12, 2020
While some were seated apart at the beginning, the Trump supporters crowded together during the event to get closer to the President.
The scene at the Trump rally in Sanford, Fla pic.twitter.com/nleaw3PU2I
— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) October 12, 2020
A similar scene is likely to play out in Des Moines.
Trump’s last public rally in Minnesota, held days before he announced his coronavirus infection, is already linked to nine cases of COVID-19, and has put two people in the hospital, including one in the ICU there.
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has voiced concern about the public health risk the President’s rally poses to the people of the city and beyond.
“Absolutely I’m worried about the spread,” Cownie told the Register. “We don’t want a super-spread event here in Des Moines. We urge everyone who would attend this event to wear a mask and social distance as best they can, and to stay safe and healthy.”
Iowa’s COVID-19 situation has been getting steadily worse by the day. After a spike in late August, Iowa’s cases have continued growing back toward the college-return heights, experiencing currently the eight-fastest recent spread in the country.
Worse still, hospitalizations continue to hit all-time highs nearly every day in the past week, topping even the worst days during the early stages of the pandemic in the spring.
Reynolds has continued to refuse to implement any sort of mask mandate, simply encouraging Iowans to show “personal responsibility” and to “do the right thing” as they go about their day. Doing the right thing, in Reynolds’ eyes at least, now appears to include jamming people into a major political rally for a President who has downplayed the severity of the virus.
At tonight’s 3rd District debate between Rep. Cindy Axne and David Young, the former Republican congressman said he would be in attendance at Trump’s rally on Wednesday.
“I’m just hoping the proper protocols are put out there,” Young said of the potential risk of a large rally. “…People are volunteering to go these events, they’re not being forced to.”
Sen. Joni Ernst will not be there, as she is in Washington, D.C. for the Supreme Court nomination hearings.
by Pat Rynard
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