A Republican National Convention unlike any other concluded on Thursday night, with Donald Trump taking over the South Lawn of the White House for a series of speeches that concluded with him accepting the nomination of the Republican party.
The visuals were enough to make Jake Tapper chastise the scene in Washington, for the crowd at the White House caused him to worry about the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the impact a crowded lawn has on public perception. Tapper called it a potential “super spreader event” and quoted a doctor who was worried about the scene portrayed on television before and during Trump’s acceptance speech and the various speeches held beforehand.
Wolf Blitzer set the stage for the scene on the South Lawn, saying about 2,000 people were expected to attend with little social distancing in mind. He then threw it to Tapper, who was aghast at the visuals of crowds gathering with few masks in sight.
“You remember a few weeks ago when president Trump finally wore a mask, and so many people in the White House and in the health community breathed a sigh of relief. Finally we were going to get a good example set by the president,” Tapper said. “Well I’ve been talking to health officials across the country who are just abjectly mortified by what they’re seeing from the South Lawn, which looks like a potential super spreader event.”
Tapper then quoted Dr. Ashish K. Jha of the Harvard Global Health Institute, who was also not happy with what they saw.
“This is deeply irresponsible,” Tapper relayed from Jha. “It goes against all that we know about keeping people safe. We should expect better from our national leaders.”
Tapper continued, pointing out that more Americans had died of coronavirus during the four-day convention than had died on 9/11 while Trump continued to minimize the virus and flouted social distancing rules amid the pandemic.
“The idea that 2,000 individuals with no mass testing, no social distancing, very few of them wearing masks, coming together. Forget the Hatch Act violations, we’re getting into a matter of life and death here. It’s really alarming and I have to say, the idea of this happening while this pandemic is going on and the president and the White House and trying to convince us that it isn’t is otherworldly,” Tapper said. “Since this convention began on Monday until 5 p.m. today eastern, 3,688 Americans have died of coronavirus. Just since the Republican convention we have had more losses due to this virus than were lost due to 9/11.”
Trump on his approach to the virus: “We are focusing on the science, the facts and the data” Trump is saying this to a non-socially distanced crowd where supporters aren’t wearing masks.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 28, 2020