State Watch

Billboard warns Trump’s Iowa rally will be ‘superspreader event’

National agricultural advocacy group Rural America 2020 began displaying a digital billboard outside of the Des Moines International Airport in Iowa on Tuesday ahead of President Trump’s Wednesday rally, warning residents that it will be a “COVID superspreader event.” 

The group on Tuesday tweeted an image of the billboard, which says “TRUMP COVID SUPERSPREADER EVENT” along with a large arrow pointed toward the airport where the president will speak to supporters. 

The group said in a press release that it plans to leave the billboard up through the campaign event Wednesday evening.

“We should all be worried about a President who was in the hospital with COVID last week and who now wants to pack thousands of Iowans into an airport hangar,” Iowa Rural America 2020 steering committee member Chris Henning said in the press release. 

“This is the height of irresponsibility. We saw what happened in the Rose Garden,” Henning added, referring to the a White House event for Judge Amy Coney Barrett where multiple top Republicans are believed to have contracted the virus. 

Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Republican Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Mike Lee (Utah) and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) tested positive after Barrett’s nomination.

“Why should the President be allowed to bring that kind of superspreader behavior into Iowa, particularly when our cases are rising?” Henning questioned in the statement. 

The billboard comes after Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie (D) told the Des Moines Register on Sunday that he was concerned that Trump’s Wednesday rally could result in a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city. 

“Absolutely I’m worried about the spread. We don’t want a super-spread event here in Des Moines,” Cownie told the newspaper. “We urge everyone who would attend this event to wear a mask and social distance as best they can, and to stay safe and healthy.”

“We all have to do everything we can do to keep our numbers down,” he continued. “It’s proven, it’s scientific facts.”

The Trump campaign said in a statement to The Hill on Sunday that rally attendees would be given temperature checks before being allowed to enter the event.

“The event is at an open door airplane hangar where people will be expressing their First Amendment rights and hearing from the President of the United States. We will have safety protocols in place. All attendees will be given a temperature check, masks which they are instructed to wear, and access to hand sanitizer,” Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, told The Hill.

Cownie’s comments came the same day Axios reported that Trump had instructed his aides to put him on the campaign trail every day between now and the election, with one adviser reportedly saying that this could “kill” the 74-year-old president as he recovers from the virus.

On Monday, Trump spoke at a rally in Sanford, Fla., just one week after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. During the event, Trump thanked his doctors who administered days-long treatment to the president as he dealt with the virus. 

“Now they say I’m immune. I feel so powerful. I’ll walk in there. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience,” Trump told the crowd. “I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss.”

However, little is known about how long immunity may last after a patient contracts COVID-19, and there have been reports of individuals being infected twice.

Tags 2020 Trump campaign Axios Chris Chrisite Chris Christie coronavirus covid-19 Des Moines Des Moines Register Donald Trump Iowa Kellyanne Conway Mike Lee Rural America Thom Tillis Tim Murtaugh Trump rally

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