12 times Trump ignored virus safety rules in public even as he knew the risks


Donald Trump has repeatedly ignored rules aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, tapes made public by journalist Bob Woodward of interviews he conducted with Donald Trump revealed that Trump has known how deadly the coronavirus is since February.

But a review of his public appearances and campaign events since that time shows that he has repeatedly ignored safety rules — even in states and localities where authorities have instituted such safety requirements aimed at curbing the pandemic.

"You just breathe the air and that's how it's passed," Trump said in a Feb. 7 interview for Woodward's upcoming book, "Rage." "And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flus."

Since April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been urging Americans to wear face masks in public and maintain social distancing to avoid spreading the virus. Trump has taken many contradictory positions on masks, saying both that "many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can't socially distance" and that masks are a "double-edged sword" and are being used by people to show their disapproval of him personally.

With Trump refusing to issue a national order on mask-wearing, many states, localities, and businesses have acted on their own to require them and other safety measures.

Trump has repeatedly flouted these rules.

  • May 5: Trump visited a Honeywell plant in Arizona. He refused to wear a mask, even with signs indicating visitors were required to do so "at all times." Prior to the visit, he had said he would "have no problem" wearing a mask if required.
  • May 21: Trump visited a Ford plant in Michigan. He did not wear a mask in public, even after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned him in a letter that doing so was required under "the law of this State." Trump later claimed he had worn a mask in the back area of the factory, but took it off to deny the press "the pleasure of seeing it."
  • June 23: Trump held a 3,000-person campaign rally at a Phoenix megachurch. He did not wear a mask, nor did most of his supporters, despite Phoenix and Maricopa County ordinances requiring their use in public places.
  • July 10: Trump visited Miami for a discussion on drug trafficking. He did not wear a face mask as he arrived at the airport, ignoring a Miami-Dade County mandate.
  • July 15: Trump visited Atlanta and did not wear a mask at the airport, ignoring Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' executive order requiring them. After Bottoms accused Trump of violating city law, a White House spokesperson falsely claimed that Trump was just following "current CDC guidance."
  • July 24: Trump attended a fundraising event at his Washington, D.C., hotel. Though he had urged Americans to wear face masks hours earlier, Trump and his team refused to do so at the event — violating an order issued by Mayor Muriel Bowser.
  • July 29: Trump traveled to Texas and appeared without a mask as he campaigned. Gov. Greg Abbott had issued a mandatory statewide public mask requirement weeks earlier.
  • Aug. 6: Trump's campaign held a 500-person "Evangelicals for Trump" event at a Las Vegas hotel, violating Gov. Steve Sisolak's order limiting gatherings to 50 people. Though the Trump campaign disputed that the limits applied, the hotel was fined more than $10,000 for that and other violations of the rule.
  • Aug. 7: Trump spoke an event at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort. Ignoring the state's mask requirements and limits on indoor gatherings, Trump wore no mask and claimed the supporters packed into the event didn't need to cover their faces either. He argued that it was "a peaceful protest" and thus exempt.
  • Aug. 21: Trump spoke to the Council for National Policy in Arlington, Virginia. Trump and attendees ignored Gov. Ralph Northam's mask order and did not maintain social distancing. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and the chair of the Arlington County Board wrote to the White House and the Trump campaign days later that Trump and his team had been "paying insufficient attention to public safety guidelines and legal orders meant to stop the spread of the disease when they are here in our community."
  • Sept. 1: Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, to meet with law enforcement officials. He did not wear a mask, ignoring Gov. Tony Evers' statewide order. Trump expressly invited participants to take masks off "if you feel more comfortable."
  • Sept. 8: Trump visited Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Even after the Republican chair of the local county board publicly urged Trump to comply with Gov. Roy Cooper's mask order, Trump refused to do so. The event also exceeded Cooper's 50-person limit for mass gatherings.

Neither the Trump administration nor the Trump campaign responded to a request for comment for this story.

As of Thursday, more than 6.3 million Americans had contracted the virus and more than 190,000 had died.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.