Trump finally cancels large public speech after health experts' warnings

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The White House said Trump won't attend the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual conference over the weekend, which has in the past hosted 1,500 attendees.

Update: The White House said late Wednesday that Trump would be canceling his three-day trip to Nevada and Colorado, including his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual conference, citing "an abundance of caution."

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Businesses and governments across the country are heeding advice from public health experts by canceling large gatherings in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Yet Donald Trump is ignoring that advice as he keeps his plan to deliver remarks to the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual conference in Las Vegas over the weekend, which is being held at a casino owned by Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson.

It's unclear how many people will be in attendance at the conference, as the coalition did not immediately respond to a question on how many guests are expected.

However, last year the conference drew almost 1,500 people to the event, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Public health experts have said that events with hundreds of people should be canceled to stop the spread of the virus, which has already reached pandemic levels and could swamp the U.S. health care system if it continues to infect more and more people.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told House lawmakers on Wednesday that the worst is yet to come with the virus.

Countries like Italy, where cases of COVID-19 disease are growing exponentially, are struggling to care for patients with their existing health care system — something that experts fear could happen in the United States if efforts to stop the spread of the virus fail.

Fauci went on to recommend that large gatherings be postponed.

"We would recommend there not be large crowds," Fauci said. "If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it."

So far, numerous state and local governments, as well as major businesses, have canceled events thanks to that warning, including the South by Southwest festival in Austin, the Coachella music festival in California, and professional sports games in Seattle, among other events.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders both canceled campaign events Tuesday night in Ohio at the behest of the state's governor, over concerns about spreading the virus.

Meanwhile, San Francisco banned public events with more than 1,000 people, while Washington State — experiencing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks — is restricting events to 250 people in a trio of counties.

Yet Trump and the Republican Jewish Coalition are thus far ignoring advice and pressing on. The Trump campaign also announced plans to hold a Catholics for Trump event on March 19.

While the Trump campaign ultimately decided against holding a rally in Reno, Nevada, campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox Business on Wednesday that it's not worried about hosting rallies.

"The president is the best authority on this issue. He takes into consult the words of everyone around him, that would include [Health and Human Services Secretary] Alex Azar, that would include Dr. Fauci, that would include others. So, I'll leave it to the president," McEnany said. "Right now, we're proceeding as normal."

She went on to criticize Biden for heeding public health experts when he canceled his planned primary night speech in Ohio — leading Fox Business host Stuart Varney to criticize her.

"I mean, you are immediately going to be hit with this," Varney said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.