“For community safety, we have to make sure we try to be careful, but we don’t think that means going into your house or if I can be snarky, we don’t feel like us like Joe Biden and hide in our basement forever, ”said Andrew Hitt, leader of the Republican Party. “We feel we have to understand and work towards being able to function again in this country and not just fleeing and hiding from this virus and this pandemic.”
Nothing speaks more clearly to polarizing the debate than Trump’s decision to hold two rallies in Wisconsin after the White House designated them as a red zone, due to the third highest positivity rate for any state in the country.
“The White House published a letter calling Wisconsin the third worst in the country. I don̵
Trump was originally supposed to hold a rally on Saturday in La Crosse, an upbeat area that is rich in voters. Trump has to win in a state where Joe Biden tops the polls averaging 5 percentage points. The Trump campaign moved the rally to Janesville after a rental problem, a spokesman said the move was “not related to Covid”.
Trump officials say they will take precautions to avoid spreading the virus at rallies where attendees are expected to be in close contact.
“Americans are excited about President Trump’s re-election and want and have the right to meet under the First Amendment to hear from the President of the United States,” Deputy National Press Secretary Courtney Parella said in a statement. “At the President’s outdoor events in Wisconsin, as with his other campaign events, each participant receives a temperature check, a mask to wear, and access to a variety of hand sanitizers.”
The campaign is still holding a second rally in Green Bay, one of the White House’s designated coronavirus hotspots, over the objections of the city’s mayor.
“The President of the United States is always welcome in our community, but he must follow guidelines from our local health authorities,” Green Bay Democratic Mayor Eric Genrich told POLITICO. “A campaign rally could be a super spreader event. He can’t want that and we can’t take it. “
Genrich wrote an open letter to Trump back in June urging the president not to pay a visit.
“Unfortunately, I was able to just change the date and update the Covid-19 death toll,” he said of the state’s circumstances today.
Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson, Trump, a Democrat whose county is among the hardest hit in the state, only underscored his lack of leadership over Covid by visiting Wisconsin now.
“My county is a swing county in a swing state, and we’re one of the hottest places in the country,” said Nelson. “He should cancel his trip. But when he comes, he should visit one of our fully occupied hospitals to see what he’s done to our country.”
On Nelson’s point, hospitals are getting so overwhelmed that state officials recently warned that they may soon have to open a field hospital on the state fairgrounds to accommodate the overflow.
Trump bragged about it in the first presidential debate earlier this week 25,000 to 35,000 people appear at his rallies. Moderator Chris Wallace asked the President if he was concerned about spreading the disease at his rallies.
“So far we haven’t had a problem. According to experts, it’s out there, it’s a big difference. We do them outside. As you can see, we have an enormous crowd 24 hours in advance, ”he said. “We have had no negative effects.”
Trump’s outdoor rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin last month drew thousands of people. Even as the spread of Covid-19 accelerated in the state at that time, most attendees did not wear masks.
Biden also visited Wisconsin, including Manitowoc last week. However, careful care was taken in the former vice president’s campaign to follow strict Covid-19 guidelines, including imposing limits on the number of attendees and requiring social distancing and the wearing of masks at events.
Hitt said Republican elected officials who defy the mask order are simply representing the will of their constituencies.
“The mask views differ considerably, depending on where you are in this state. If you’re in Madison or Milwaukee wear them all. I watch my mind change every day that I travel. I stop at a gas station in Appleton and most people wear masks, but not all. I go further west or further north and there is not a single mask, ”said Hitt.
“I think public opinion varies a lot depending on where you are. Like many other things, Republicans believe that there should be more personal responsibility than the governor mandates. ”
While wearing masks and government shutdowns have been politicized nationally, polls suggested that security measures in Wisconsin receive broad support in the early stages of the pandemic. In March, “more than 8 in 10 Republicans and Independents and 95 percent of Democrats support mandatory state social distancing,” according to the Marquette Law School poll.
Evers saw a steady surge in popularity after issuing the Safer at Home order, which received high marks in surveys for several months of handling Covid, peaking at 65 percent in March. While his number fell after the riots in Kenosha, his approval rate stands at 51 percent.
Earlier this week, Evers appeared with health officials to set off the alarm that residents needed to take the virus more seriously and go back to basics of security measures. State officials initially saw an increase in the reopening of schools and universities. But the virus is now affecting older age groups and has spread to less populated parts of the state.
“Folks, it’s not certain, this virus is real and ravaging our communities and will continue to do so until we’re all on the same team,” Evers said earlier this week. “I can’t stress this enough, no party, no gathering, no bar is worth it.”
Evers said Trump should either not come this weekend or insist that his supporters wear masks.
“He could wear one too,” said Evers. “Those are the two things he could do to make sure it doesn’t turn out to be a super-spreader event.”