- President Donald Trump boasted of violating coronavirus restrictions at the event at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Tuesday.
- He mocked Democrats for backing anti-racism protests and social-distancing measures.
- There have been 178,635 cases of coronavirus recorded in North Carolina, and 2,909 deaths. The state’s governor has mandated masks and banned gatherings of more than 50.
- However, people at Tuesday’s rally were packed close together and few wore masks.
- Trump has spread disinformation and promoted unproven cures throughout the pandemic, as he seeks to downplay the impact of the disease and his administration’s erratic response.
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President Donald Trump at a campaign rally Tuesday boasted of flouting coronavirus restrictions to stage the event, and mocked Democrats for supporting the measures.
Trump was speaking in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where supporters were packed closely together, breaching state rules banning outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people. Footage from the event showed some people, like the president, not wearing masks.
At the event, Trump ridiculed Democrats and their presidential nominee Joe Biden for supporting the social-distancing measures and observing them at campaign events. The Trump administration has advocated those very same public-health measures.
Trump also claimed that Democrats are hypocrites for supporting the anti-racism protests that have swept the country over the summer, and repeated false claims that Democrats support violent unrest at protests.
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 8, 2020
“Because they have rules in these Democrat-run states that if you campaign you cannot have more than five people,” the president said, falsely.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has currently banned outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people and required people to wear masks in public.
Trump added: “You can’t go to church, you can’t do anything outside. If you are willing to riot, running down the main street, if you want to riot and stand on top of each other’s face and do whatever the hell you want to do, you are allowed to do that because you are considered a peaceful protester.”
“We decided to call all our rallies peaceful protests,” the president then said, mockingly.
Trump’s claim that people are not allowed to gather to worship in churches in the state was also false, with North Carolina state guidelines urging people attending church services to observe social distancing and wear a mask.
There have been 178,635 cases of coronavirus recorded in the state so far, and 2,909 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Trump has sought to portray himself as the champion of the US’s post-coronavirus economic resurgence, despite infection rates in many states remaining high.
On Tuesday, he urged Cooper to lift restrictions, saying: “You are in a shutdown. I’ve been to many states that aren’t in shutdowns, and they are doing better. They’re doing better.”
According to data compiled by The New York Times, several states that lifted lockdown measures relatively early, such as Arizona and Florida, were compelled to reintroduce some restrictions after a spike in infections.
A report by McKinsey in August found that only in economies where infection rates are low, and the virus is under control, do businesses show signs of stable recovery.