Trump’s RNC Rally Ignored Social Distancing

President Trump addressed the Republican National Convention on Thursday from the White House, where a packed audience largely ignored coronavirus safety precautions, sitting shoulder to shoulder with few face masks.

What We Know:

  • An estimated 1,500 people were expected to gather on the South Lawn of the White House for Trump’s RNC address, including Republican members of Congress, despite Washington D.C. rules that prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people as a coronavirus safety precaution. D.C. also requires anyone entering from “high-risk states” to self-quarantine for 14 days. The rules do not apply to federal property which helps explain why the White House was exempt from the restrictions.
  • Footage and pictures from the final day of the RNC show attendees standing close together as they await the president with only a handful of face masks seen. The seating arrangement of the gathering was also questioned as there was little distance between the white chairs set up for attendees.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines urge all Americans to avoid close contact with people not living in their household by standing or sitting at least 6 feet apart. Additionally, public health officials advise Americans to cover their faces when around others to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
  • White House officials told reporters that anyone who was expected to be close to the president for an extended period of time at the rally was tested for coronavirus. The audience, however, was not tested prior to attending the rally. Reporters at the event also shared that they had not been tested before entering the crowded lawn, where there was no mask mandate in place.

  • Earlier in the day, reporters asked what COVID-19 protections were put in place for the gathering and, while no specifics were given about what measures had been taken, the White House released a statement saying the RNC worked closely with a company, Patronus Medical, to “make certain proper protocols are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals at convention venue”.
  • Trump has faced criticism for his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic from his comments dismissing the severity of the pandemic to refusing to wear a mask in public. Despite the pandemic, Trump has made it clear he wanted the RNC to resemble the crowded, rowdy event of the past. In June, Trump moved main RNC events to Jacksonville, Florida from its’s original location of Charlotte, North Carolina after North Carolina governor Roy Cooper would not guarantee to lift pandemic restrictions for the event. The Florida portion of the event was later canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

During this event on the final night of the RNC, Trump formally accepted his party’s nomination for president in the upcoming election against democratic nominee Joe Biden.