A New York Times correspondent stated that Donald Trump’s campaign kicked her out of a rally in Michigan on Thursday after she had shared pictures of attendees standing close to one another without wearing masks.
Kathy Gray was covering Trump’s visit to Freeland on Thursday as part of the campaign’s push to win the all-important swing state. After sharing a series of posts that included a picture of people gathered close together without masks, Gray wrote on Twitter that she was tossed out.
“I’ve just been kicked out of the trump rally,” the correspondent wrote. “First for me: Trump campaign tracked me down from pics i tweeted and escorted me out.”
Crammed in crowd in the rain for trump rally in michigan. Not many masks pic.twitter.com/5DZ6JBVNK8
— Kathy Gray (@michpoligal) September 10, 2020
Trump’s campaign has come under fire for holding large, in-person rallies despite the warnings from public health experts that such events are dangerous and could potentially spread coronavirus. The president himself has also been criticized for his refusal to wear a mask in public settings and his vocal insistence that he would not be seen wearing one. However, his stance has softened some in recent weeks, and he has worn one on occasion.
Gray’s removal comes just days after the revelation that Trump told journalist Bob Woodward back in March that he intended to play down the pandemic, after having already revealed to Woodward in early February that he understood how deadly it could be and that it spread through the air. He has come under fire from critics on both sides of the aisle, who claim that his attempts to play down its severity may have led to more unnecessary deaths and led others to forgo social distancing measures like wearing masks in crowded public spaces.
Trump has defended the tactic by saying he did not want to cause panic, but the explanation has not gone over well with critics. As the Washington Post reported, Democratic candidate Joe Biden already released an ad that directly tied his actions to the rising death toll from the coronavirus.
“HE KNEW. HE DIDN’T WARN US. PEOPLE DIED,” the captions read during the new ad about Trump’s interview with Woodward.
As The Hill noted, Trump has frequently taken aim at Gray’s employer, labeling the New York Times a purveyor of fake news and repeatedly claiming that the newspaper is “failing.” The campaign did not respond to the outlet’s request for a comment, nor did it offer an explanation about why the reporter was kicked out of the rally.