Trump campaign ads feature rallygoers ignoring virus safety guidelines

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Trump was planning to hold two rallies in Wisconsin as hospitals filled to capacity with COVID-19 patients.

The Trump campaign ran at least $33,000 worth of Facebook ads this week featuring first-person testimonials from supporters at past rallies.

All gave glowing reviews of the White House occupant.

None of them appear to be following the Trump administration’s own coronavirus health guidelines. 

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states in its virus guidelines that people should "maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people who don’t live in your household" when attending an event or gathering. The CDC also advises people to "wear a mask when interacting with other people to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus."

“Wearing masks is most important when social distancing is difficult," the public health agency notes. 

Many of the supporters who have attended Trump's campaign rally appear to be flouting those rules.

The campaign this week ran six different Facebook video ads featuring supporters without masks, standing in crowded groups with other attendees. The ads currently live in Facebook’s inactive ads library.  

The videos feature a man and woman who say they're from Ukraine, praising Trump for being a savvy businessman; a visibly emotional woman who thanks Trump for "everything you've done"; another woman who claims "Latinos love you" because he's a "hard worker";woman who identifies herself as Latina and says it's a myth that Trump "hates us";woman who says she's proud of Trump for attending a rally in her state and says the United States "is not gonna be socialist"; and a man who says he supports Trump because he's "done more for the Black community than any other president in my lifetime."

The ads were first flagged by American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal opposition research group based in Washington, D.C.

A spokesperson for the group said that although the campaign ads were "hardly shocking," they were nonetheless ironic and disturbing.

"...It speaks volumes coming from a man who called his own supporters 'disgusting' and bragged about no longer needing to shake their hands," American Bridge spokesperson Kyle Morse said Thursday.

Television footage, photographs, and news reports all confirm that social distancing and other safety measures have been scarce to nonexistent at Trump's campaign events — and officials in Wisconsin, where Trump plans to host several rallies this coming weekend, are not happy.

"Any massive gathering of people that occurs without social distancing, without masking has the possibility of being a super-spreader event," Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich said, speaking with the Green Bay Press Gazette on Wednesday. "I don’t think the president would want to be involved in something like that."

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat took a harsher approach, saying earlier on Thursday that he was trying to get the event initially planned in his city "either canceled or postponed to another time based on what we are experiencing here [...]."

Following Kabat's comments, the Trump campaign moved that event to Janesville, about 160 miles away. "We had a change of venue. There was an issue with the lease at the first location. Not Covid-related," a Trump campaign official said in a statement to CNN.

Gov. Tony Evers has also warned Trump that he must require masks at campaign events in the state or just "not come." The state is dealing with so-called COVID-19 "red zones," and hospitals that are reaching full capacity.

"Number one, he could not come," Evers said this week. "The second thing that could be done is for him to insist that if people are there, they wear a mask. He could make that happen."

On Wednesday, Wisconsin recorded 27 deaths from the coronavirus, the most ever reported in the state in a single day, bringing its total death toll to 1,327.

At other rallies, some Trump supporters have been seen wearing masks during the event. However, as the Associated Press reports, that could be purely for show.

"Those in the stands directly behind Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings," the outlet wrote about a recent Nevada rally.

In rallies and at Tuesday night's debate, Trump has mocked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for wearing a mask, following the CDC's guidelines.

"Every time you see him, he's got a mask," Trump said during the debate.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.