WH press secretary says she'll attend Trump's Tulsa rally, but won't wear a mask
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that she would be one of the government officials who would attend President Trump's reelection rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday. However, she will not wear a mask that is recommended to stop the spread of COVID-19.
"It is a personal decision. I will not wear a mask and I cannot speak for my colleagues," said McEnany of her plans.
When asked by CNN's Jim Acosta whether she wore a mask out of respect for the president who despised her, McEnany said she was confident that she wasn't infected with the virus.
"It's a personal decision. I'm tested regularly," she said. "I think it's safe not to wear a mask, and I adhere to the CDC guidelines that are recommended but not required are."
Seconds before their statement, CDC director Robert Redfield posted a message on Twitter advising Americans to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Robert R. Redfield
As of June 16, more than 2.1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States. Remember to wear your face covering correctly. Make sure it covers your mouth and nose when in public. Properly worn facewear can slow the spread.
8:34 PM - June 19, 2020
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Health experts warn that Trump's rally, which will attract nearly 20,000 attendees to Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma Center, is a perfect storm for COVID-19 transmission. The CDC has warned against attending "large personal gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to keep a minimum distance of 3 m and participants are traveling outside the region". The agency also recommends face coverings for events where people tend to scream or sing.
On Friday afternoon, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court denied an application to force the BOK center leadership to enforce "mandatory social distancing guidelines" at the Saturday rally, including the requirement to wear a face mask. This decision paves the way for the rally to overcome the objections of local companies that characterized it as a "super spreader event".
When asked whether White House employees were concerned about the rally continuing despite an increase in COVID 19 cases in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, McEnany assured reporters that the Trump campaign is taking the necessary health precautions.
“We are all on board to go to Oklahoma. We take appropriate measures such as hand disinfection, temperature tests and masks on the door, ”said McEnany. "But I also want to tell you from the Governor of Oklahoma that he says that most of the cases he sees are in the 18-35 group, where they see a slight increase and are asymptomatic people who see them. ”
Despite the assurance that the rally in Tulsa would be safe, the Trump campaign required those seeking tickets to the event to complete an online disclaimer that acknowledged the "inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19" . The campaign also said this week that over a million people had done so.
During a briefing on Wednesday, McEnany announced that White House employees no longer have to wear masks at work. After an outbreak in May that infected several employees, the White House ordered all employees to wear masks, although compliance was short-lived and inconsistent.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images)
Face coverings have become a political focus in the United States, thanks in part to what the President said.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Trump was asked if he believed that some people were wearing masks to protest him.
“Masks are a double-edged sword. People touch them. And they grab it and I see it all the time. They come in, they take the mask. Now they are holding it in their fingers. And they drop it on the desk and then touch their eyes and nose, ”Trump replied. "No, I think a mask is a ... it's a double-edged sword. It's a double-edged sword. I see Biden. It's like covering his entire face. It's like putting a backpack over his face "He probably likes it that way. He feels so good because he does. He seems to feel good in a mask, you know, he feels better than without the mask, which is a strange situation."
When asked if he saw wearing a mask as a protest against him, Trump continued:
"It could be, yes. It could be. But it could also be that they feel better. "
The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, issued a nationwide order Thursday that residents must wear face coverings.
NEW: Californians now have to wear facewear in public spaces.
Together we can slow down the spread.
Do your part. Wear a mask.
10:20 p.m. - June 18, 2020
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On Friday, AMC Theaters, the largest cinema chain in the country, reversed the course and announced that visitors would have to wear face masks when it reopened in mid-July.
"We think it's imperative that we listen to our guests," said CEO Adam Aron. "This answer shows that we didn't go far enough when using masks."
In an interview with Variety on Thursday, Aron sparked a public backlash because he said the chain would not need masks to avoid offending those who didn't think it was "necessary".
"We didn't want to be involved in a political controversy," said Aron. "We thought it could be counterproductive if we forced people to wear a mask if they were convinced that it wasn't necessary."
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