Ohio farmer Christopher Gibbs, who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, is leading an advocacy group — Rural America 2020 — that is sounding the alarm on the president’s “superspreader events,” The Hill reported.
During a Wednesday interview with CNN, Gibbs spoke about the group’s billboards, which are part of its broader push to draw attention to the U.S. leader’s rallies, which he continues to hold despite the surging coronavirus pandemic.
“Rural health care is extremely important. So what we did with the billboards was to start that conversation. It’s true that these were superspreader events and that’s scaring the dickens out of folks in these rural areas.”
Nevertheless, Gibbs appears to be in the minority in the farmer demographic. As noted by The Hill, a Farm Futures poll from September showed that the majority of United States farmers — approximately 75 percent — plan to vote for the president in the forthcoming election.
Still, Trump’s rallies have raised concerns on many occasions. A CNN analysis criticized the president’s campaign for continuing to hold the popular events — even as the country experiences a spike in cases — and muddling the nation’s pandemic messaging. In particular, the publication highlighted Trump’s reluctance to promote mask-wearing and apparently false claims that the practice is linked to COVID-19 infection.
“That there is still a public debate about mask wearing — a practice that has become routine for millions seven months into the crisis — reflects the politicized nature of the US response, which is one of the worst in the world.”
Despite facing blowback for the continued rallies, Trump doesn’t appear set to stop anytime soon with less than two weeks until the November election. Per Politico, one senior administration official suggested that the campaign is low on options when it comes to ways for the head of state to spend his time. According to the official, the gatherings are the best option Trump has in his re-election effort.
“He wants to be on the road, and you can’t tell him to do something different.”
Although Politico noted that some people around the U.S. leader believe the gatherings aren’t drawing new voters, others see things differently. One current campaign official said that internal data showed that almost 25 percent of attendees at the Prescott, Arizona, gathering didn’t consider themselves Republicans. In addition, the data allegedly found that 38 percent of attendees didn’t vote in 2016.
Trump himself was speculated to be a superspreader of the coronavirus after he contracted the disease along with many other White House officials. When questioned about the possibility, he refused to provide a response.