As Karl reports, in April 2020, with his poll numbers dropping and his daily coronavirus briefings going off the rails, Trump decided he needed to get back into the rally game. That’s what he told the former governor of New Jersey. Chris Christie at the time was saying:
“He was beside himself,” former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a close Trump adviser who called frequently during the campaign for advice, told me. “All he could think about was the countryside. He didn’t talk much about anything else. COVID would have entered it, but in reality its focus was on the campaign ”.
Really? Was Trump focused entirely on keeping the job he wasn’t even remotely interested in doing? What traces.
In May, writes Karl, Trump insisted that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, put together a road map to resume the pseudo-president’s popular rallies, even though major events in the country had essentially been closed for weeks.
After struggling to find a place that could house a slight MAGA culling, the campaign eventually settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, because the city had a Republican mayor and was in a state with a GOP governor. In other words, it was a COVID-friendly space. (In another big misstep, this possibly unintended one, the campaign originally envisioned the rally for eighteenth of JuneJune 19, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, but changed the date after receiving significant backlash. Add keeping it in Tulsa, the site of a white-on-black massacre in 1921, and you’re really cooking on gas.)
Expectations for the rally were high, with Parscale tweeting in the week before the event’s launch: “I just passed 800,000 tickets. The biggest rally data collection and entry of all time by 10 times. Saturday. it will be great!” What they didn’t know was that many of those tickets – no doubt the vast majority – were reserved by pranksters who were eager to see Trump’s dangerous and self-congratulatory return to the big league limelight fail.
Karl notes that Trump was definitely stunned in the days leading up to the rally, especially after Parscale told him they had crossed the 1 million ticket mark. The dire warnings from Oklahoma public health officials that the rally would worsen the pandemic in their state naturally failed to penetrate Trump’s Macy’s ego parade balloon.
In fact, when asked about whether his gathering could turn into a super-loud event, Trump had a typically sociopathic response: “As you’ve probably heard, we’re getting exact numbers, but we’re close to or over a million people wanting to go. None.” has ever heard of numbers like this. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun. “
Do you know what happened next? On the way to the rally, Trump watched the news from Air Force One. But instead of footage of crowded crowds eager to see their favorite vector of the disease, the teevee talked about positive COVID-19 outcomes among Trump’s campaign staff and the conspicuous lack of rally attendees.
“Will it be full?” Trump eventually asked Parscale. “No, sir,” was the reply. “Looks like Beirut in the 1980s.”
Yes, and like in Beirut in the 80s, Americans would die. Oklahoma saw a strong increase in COVID-19 cases three weeks after the rally, and former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who attended the unmasked event, he famously succumbed to the virus weeks later.
The event caused problems for the secret services, as dozens of agents had to go into quarantine after two agents who worked on the Tulsa rally tested positive. The consequences have been more dire for a prominent Trump supporter. Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate who the president’s team flew to attend the rally, tested positive for COVID-19 days after the event. Cain, who was 74, was photographed inside the arena without a mask, sitting packed with a group of other well-known Trump supporters who wore no masks. Days after testing positive, Cain was hospitalized. A month later, on July 30, Cain died from complications from the coronavirus. The news devastated Trump’s campaign staff. Many felt to blame for his death. “We killed Herman Cain,” said a senior staff member [ABC News reporter Will] Steak in not long after Cain’s death.
The night before the rally, many Trump campaign staffers tested positive for COVID-19 and the administration was trying to contain the politic—Not public health – relapses. According to two senior campaign officials interviewed by Karl, after the eighth person close to the campaign tested positive, “the word came from the campaign leadership: STOP THE TEST”.
And the lack of care and compassion Trump has shown for his own people didn’t end there. According to Karl, campaign staff who tested positive were told to drive rental cars in Washington, DC, even though they were supposed to self-isolate for 10 days. “There was a car of three successful staff members that he drove from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Washington, DC,” a senior consultant told Karl. “We called it a COVID-mobile.”
Oh, and in case you thought Trump couldn’t be more of a foolish monster than he already is, check out this anecdote:
There is something else that neither Trump nor his campaign have ever revealed. One of the campaign staff members who tested positive became seriously ill. This Trump campaign employee, whose name I was asked not to disclose, was unable to drive home like the others. Instead, this staff member was hospitalized in Tulsa for a week. This staff member was concerned about the dangers of working on the demonstration due to pre-existing conditions that made the prospect of being infected particularly dangerous, but the president had called for an indoor demonstration despite warnings from public health officials, and the staff answered faithfully helping to organize it. Now that the demonstration was over, the president had returned to Washington bitterly complaining that more people had not turned up, while this campaigner was stuck in Tulsa, lying in a hospital bed thinking his life was about to end. .
Uh Huh. If this isn’t Trump in a nutshell, I don’t know what it is. You sure don’t want to be with Trump in a trench, do you? Or any hole for that matter.
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