President Donald Trump’s campaign abruptly canceled plans for its upcoming rally in Alabama after state officials said they were worried about the gathering accelerating the spread of the novel coronavirus, CNN reported.
The campaign was scheduled to have a rally in the state to goose his support and drum up attention for GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville. Former Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also running for the seat and the president’s endorsement of Tuberville is widely seen as a snub to his former official.
Reportedly, plans for the mass gathering were scrapped, leaving the Trump campaign with no scheduled rallies. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh declined to confirm where the next rally would take place.
“We don’t ever confirm where we’re looking until a rally date and location are announced. There is always work underway to identify sites,” he said.
Alabama is one of the areas that has seen a rapid increase in the number of cases of COVID-19, prompting Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, to issue an order that would halt the state’s plans to re-open. The state has seen an increase of at least 10 percent in just the last week. While it had begun the process of re-opening in early May, those plans are now on hold.
Instead, citizens are being encouraged to continue minimizing travel outside of their homes and to wear face masks whenever possible. The state has also implemented a new ban on people getting together.
“All non-work-related gatherings of any size, including drive-in gatherings, that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from different households are prohibited.”
Sessions was expected to be an easy winner in the race until the president stepped in to support his opponent, and CNN noted the news of the canceled rally is likely welcomed by Sessions and his campaign.
The news comes after the Trump campaign was met with a surprisingly low turnout at their first rally in months, which took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The rally likely saw reduced attendance as people continue to stay at home over concerns about spreading and catching the coronavirus, but possibly also because Trump has seen his popularity crater across the country in recent weeks.
So far, eight campaign staffers and two Secret Service agents tested positive for the coronavirus and many staff were forced to quarantine following the event.
Some people in Trump’s orbit and pundits on the right are reportedly saying that Trump could lose the upcoming election.
“Not many people are saying it out loud on the right, but the fact is that President Trump could well lose this election. In fact, unless fundamental facts change soon, it could be tough for him to be reelected,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said.