Donald Trump has been accused of putting lives at risk after his first indoor rally in nearly three months was attended by thousands of supporters without face masks.
The President openly defied social-distancing regulations to host last night’s campaign event in Henderson, Nevada, in which he told the packed crowd that the nation was “making the last turn” in defeating Covid-19.
Relatively few inside the venue wore masks — except those in the stands directly behind Mr Trump, which appeared in broadcasts.
“We are not shutting the country again. A shutdown would destroy the lives and dreams of millions of Americans,” Mr Trump said, before adding: “We will very easy defeat the China virus.”
Both indoor and outdoor gatherings in Nevada have been limited to 50 people since May — restrictions based on White House guidelines.
The state’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, accused Mr Trump of “taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger”. “The President appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic,” he tweeted.
The election rally was Mr Trump’s first to be held indoors since his disastrous event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was blamed for a surge in virus infections.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh rejected criticism of the event
“If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the President of the United States,” he said.
His campaign team said rally attendees were subject to a temperature check, had access to hand sanitisers, and were given masks and were encouraged to wear them.