Georgia senator brags about 'huge crowd' at rally as COVID rates soar in his state


Ivanka Trump tagged along on the crowded campaign trail in Georgia on Monday.

Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue bragged about the size of the crowd at one of his campaign rallies on Tuesday, even as the number of new coronavirus cases soars in the state.

"Another awesome rally with a huge crowd in Walton County!" Perdue tweeted alongside photos of the rally in Walton County. "Georgia — your vote is the ONLY thing that can stop the Left's radical policies from becoming law. GET OUT AND VOTE before Christmas."

The photos taken at the event, one of several held by him and his fellow Georgia incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler on Tuesday, show a large and densely packed outdoor gathering. Some in the crowd are wearing masks, but many are not.

The runoff elections for Georgia's two U.S. Senate seats, scheduled for Jan. 5, pit Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock. A loss for both Perdue and Loeffler would effectively flip control of the Senate to the Democrats.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order on Dec. 8 containing a statewide ban "on gatherings of more than 50 people unless individuals remain six feet apart." The photos Perdue tweeted clearly show that campaign staff and supporters are ignoring the order.

And Georgia's COVID numbers are soaring. Just this week, the state set a record for new cases, with a seven-day average of more than 4,800 reported Sunday.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week that the number of Georgians hospitalized with the virus is 2 1/2 times greater than it was in October.

In late November, Ossoff urged Perdue and Loeffler to institute safety measures on the campaign trail.

"It is time for Senators Perdue and Loeffler to begin requiring masks at their campaign events," Ossoff told CNN. "They need to lead by example. They need to comply with CDC public health guidelines. I am calling on them to make the commitment today that they will require masks at their political events and that they will cease crowding people into these indoor spaces where there's this high risk of COVID being spread."

Perdue has expressed disdain for virus safety measures before. In October, he said he "absolutely" thought Donald Trump had done everything he could in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, including leaving inconsistent enforcement of safety regulations up to individual states. He also downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, comparing it in May to "ordinary flu seasons" and saying individuals ought to be able to "make our own decisions" about safety practices.

"So we're about 80,000 deaths in the United States, and we don't want to lose anybody. But we've had ordinary flu seasons with more deaths than we're seeing now in this one," Perdue told business leaders. The total number of lives lost to COVID-19 in the country stood at 377,000 as of Dec. 22, as tracked by the New York Times.

Trump hosted a large rally in support of Perdue and Loeffler on Dec. 5 in Valdosta. His daughter Ivanka accompanied Sens. Perdue and Loeffler to campaign events earlier on Monday, tweeting numerous photos of herself and the pair without masks amid large crowds of people.

The younger Trump has recently come under fire for criticizing COVID safety measures such as lockdowns. In November, she was forced to withdraw her children from private school when administrators expressed qualms about her "public flouting of COVID-19 guidelines," CNN reported.

According to experts, staying home, limiting the number of people at gatherings, and maintaining social distancing during the pandemic are vital to saving lives.

Meanwhile, Perdue continues to hold events that violate these guidelines, even as many Americans will be spending their first holiday without a loved one lost to COVID-19.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.