With indoor events, Trump appears indifferent to health hazards

Trump is "not at all concerned" about his safety at indoor events during a pandemic. His followers' safety, however, is another matter.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump arrives at a rally at Xtreme Manufacturing on Sept. 13, 2020, in Henderson, Nev.Andrew Harnik / AP
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By Steve Benen

In June, Donald Trump thought it'd be a good idea to ignore public-health concerns, reject the pleas of local officials, and hold an indoor campaign rally in Tulsa. He thought wrong: the event was an embarrassing fiasco.

The president nevertheless decided to do exactly the same thing over the weekend, holding another indoor campaign event in Nevada over the weekend. The Las Vegas Review-Journal asked the Republican about the ease with which COVID-19 can spread in such a setting. His response spoke volumes.

Trump said in his interview with the Review-Journal that he is not afraid of getting the coronavirus from speaking at the indoor rally. "I'm on a stage and it's very far away," Trump said. "And so I'm not at all concerned."

Or put another way, Trump is "not at all concerned" about his safety. After all, he gets to remain "very far away" from people who might be infected. He'll be fine.

As for the thousands of supporters on hand for the gathering, the vast majority of whom did not wear masks or practice any social distancing, that's not Trump's problem. So long as they're on hand to celebrate and applaud him, very little else matters to the president.

The New York Times reported that Trump and his campaign yesterday defended his latest indoor event, "despite the private unease of aides who called it a game of political Russian roulette and growing concern that such gatherings could prolong the coronavirus pandemic."

Evidently, the president isn't just ignoring local health officials, he's also ignoring his own staff's "unease."

The Washington Post, meanwhile, spoke to two advisers close to Trump, who said the return to indoor rallies may not be a permanent one. "I wouldn't expect to see one of those every week," one of the officials said.

Good to know. The president is prepared to occasionally ignore health hazards and put his followers in jeopardy, but he probably won't do this all the time.

Ahead of the weekend's event, local officials in Henderson, Nevada, warned Xtreme Manufacturing that it would face a penalty for hosting a large gathering during a deadly pandemic. Yesterday, the city imposed a $3,000 fine on the company.