Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a longtime cardiologist to former Vice President Dick Cheney, appeared on CNN Tonight on Wednesday and slammed President Donald Trump for his decision to hold a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Breitbart reported.
“The campaign is requiring people to sign a waiver that says it can’t be held liable if someone gets coronavirus, yet masks are not required,” host Don Lemon said. “You say this is criminal endangerment?”
“Yes, it’s criminal endangerment,” Reiner responded. “Imagine if you had a bunch of underaged kids in your house and you served booze. Now, you didn’t tell those kids to drink, but the alcohol was available and the kids drank and the horrible consequences ensued.”
Reiner noted that the occasion is against the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) due to its high-risk setting — a tightly-packed venue with many people who will not be able to social distance, and the lack of a mask requirement.
“Why would you endanger people that are your supporters? It’s very simple: He wants the photo op. We say this last week. He endangered protesters for a photo op.”
"Probably the most powerful tool that we have to put this virus away is to wear masks," says Dr. Jonathan Reiner, former White House medical adviser, criticizing President Trump and Vice President Pence not wearing masks in public. "It's disgraceful." pic.twitter.com/odFIXRx8xK
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 17, 2020
As reported by CNN, coronavirus cases in Oklahoma increased ahead of the rally, with an average of 203 new cases daily across the week ending June 17. The spike is a jump of approximately 110 percent from the previous week and puts Tulsa County at 1,825 cases as of Thursday morning, which the Oklahoma State Department of Health claims is the most of any county in the state. Although hospitalizations in the state have reportedly remained stable throughout June thus far, COVID Tracking Project data revealed a slight increase over the past two days.
According to a local official involved in planning Trump’s rally, 100,000 people are expected to show up at the venue, the Bank of Oklahoma Arena, which has a capacity of just under 20,000.
According to the National Post, Reiner isn’t the only one who fears the rally could be a disaster for the spread of COVID-19. Tulsa residents are allegedly “rattled” by the possible implications of the gathering, which comes amid a spike in coronavirus cases not just in Oklahoma but in other states. In addition, health officials allegedly fear that the event — the largest of its kind in the country since the pandemic began — could become a prime location for spreading the virus.
On top of coronavirus concerns, Tulsa officials are reportedly worried that the rally could spark clashes between Trump supporters and protesters arguing for the president to address police brutality and racial injustice.