White House says rally attendees assume ‘personal risk’

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday dismissed health concerns surrounding President Trump’s upcoming rally, saying the campaign had taken measures to ensure safety during the coronavirus pandemic and that attendees in Tulsa, Okla., would assume a “personal risk.”

“The campaign has taken certain measures to make sure this is a safe rally,” McEnany said, noting that campaign officials would administer temperature checks and distribute hand sanitizer and masks.

“They will be given a mask. It is up to them whether to make that decision. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines are recommended but not required,” McEnany said.

McEnany was repeatedly asked whether the White House or Trump would take responsibility if attendees contract the novel coronavirus. McEnany responded that it was the “personal choice” of those who attend the rally to do so. Those who sign up for the rally must check a disclaimer agreeing not to sue the Trump campaign or the host venue if they contract the coronavirus.

The press secretary also chided the media for its coverage of the rally compared to that of recent protests over racism and police brutality, saying that news outlets had been “inconsistent” in pointing out health risks associated with the rally but not the protests.

“When you come to a rally, as with any event, you assume a personal risk. That is what you do. When you go to a baseball game, you assume a risk. That is part of life. It is the personal decision of Americans as to whether to go to the rally or whether not to go to the rally,” McEnany said.

“But I would note that this concern for the rallies has been largely absent when it came to the protesters,” she continued.

McEnany echoed remarks from Trump and other White House officials, claiming that the media had disproportionately cited health risks associated with the rallies and not the protests, which have gripped the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Trump earlier this week tweeted that the news media had “no Covid problem” with protests and that outlets were trying to “shame” his reelection campaign over the plan to hold the rally at Tulsa’s BOK Center on Saturday.

Health experts including Anthony Fauci have raised concerns about the risks of both the protests and large events such as rallies spreading COVID-19. Many people who have attended protests have worn masks, but the large crowds have made it impossible to practice social distancing.

Over the weekend, the director of Tulsa’s health department raised concerns about Trump’s plan to hold the rally in the city due to a “significant increase” in case trends that would make a large gathering such as a rally unsafe.

Tulsa’s BOK Center holds roughly 19,000 people, and the Trump campaign is exploring outside space and other venues to hold overflow crowds. The campaign says that it has received more than 1 million requests for tickets to the event.

Tags Anthony Fauci CDC Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Kayleigh McEnany Oklahoma Social distancing Tulsa

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