Donald Trump is coming under fire for a campaign rally in Virginia that was held against the recommendations of public health experts and against the state’s order set in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Richmond rally kicked off on Friday night with crowds of supporters greeting the president, many of them packed tightly together and not wearing masks. As NBC News reported, the event was held against the executive order from Gov. Ralph Northam banning gatherings of more than 250 people and came despite many medical experts warning the Trump campaign not to hold what could become a hotspot for spreading the virus.
As the report noted, Dr. Natasha Dwamena, a Department of Public Health district director, sent a letter this week saying that the rally should either be canceled or scaled down so that it would comply with the state order against large events.
“The rally poses a concerning public health risk,” Dwamena said in the letter sent to the private company that leases the airport hangar where it was held.
But Trump did not heed the warning or follow the Virginia executive order, moving forward with the event that drew an expected 4,000 people. It drew criticism in the process, with NowThisNews going to so far as to call the rally “illegal” in a Facebook post that shared a livestream video of the president’s remarks.
Reporters in Richmond shared pictures of supporters packed tightly together as they listened to Trump speak, many of them not wearing masks. Experts have said that wearing facial coverings and maintaining at least six feet of distance from others are some of the most effective means to stop the spread of the virus.
Here is the crowd awaiting President Donald Trump for his rally in Newport News, Virginia pic.twitter.com/sJGwyUlLmw
— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) September 26, 2020
The NBC News report noted that the letter was unlikely to make a difference, as the president’s campaign has pushed forward with holding large, in-person rallies after having spent several months with none. The report noted that Trump has used the nationwide protests over the summer addressing racial injustice as a cover to hold his own events.
Trump has been criticized often in the past for his insistence to hold rallies and to not implement social distancing requirements. That included a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June, the first large event since the coronavirus pandemic first led to nationwide shutdowns in March.
As The Inquisitr reported, medical officials in Oklahoma had also warned against holding the rally but were ignored. Afterward, the state saw a surge in coronavirus infections that officials said was likely tied to the Tulsa event.