Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has said the recent large political rallies held by President Donald Trump violated her executive orders limiting public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Democrat governor, who is a national co-chair of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, said Trump is “luring people” to come out during a global pandemic.
President Trump held an outdoor rally that drew about 5,000 people to Freeland last week and his son held a rally in Harrison Township Monday evening that attracted hundreds of supporters
Reports say attendees at both events largely avoided social distancing and wearing face coverings.
Governor Whitmer issued executive orders restricting outdoor social gatherings and organized events to a maximum of 100 attendees in most parts of the state.
Her orders also limit indoor events to 10 people, but there the orders include exemptions for First Amendment-protected events.
“We have taken some steps to ensure these venues understand what the law is and I don’t know that there’s a whole lot more to add on at this juncture,’ she added.
Public health officials warn that close gatherings of unrelated people raise the risk of coronavirus exposure, as there are 6.5 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and 193,705 deaths linked to COVID-19 as of Monday, according to the CDC, including 6,601 deaths in Michigan.
Trump criticized Whitmer’s orders during his campaign rally in Saginaw County last week by saying Whitmer “doesn’t have a clue, she’s like Joe (Biden).”
“Tell your governor to open up your state. You know it’s all Democrat governors and I think they do it for political reasons,” Trump said.
Whitmer noted that former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died due to complications of COVID-19 after attending a Trump rally in Tulsa earlier this year.
“This is the exact kind of thing that creates potential superspreader events,” Whitmer said.
She said her job as governor of Michigan is to ensure everything is done to protect everyone in this state, whether they’re inclined to be at an event on one side of the aisle or the other.
The Trump campaign handed out masks and hand sanitizer to attendees at its recent rallies.
In Harrison Township, Trump’s supporters had their temperature read at a check-in table which displayed a sign stating attendees acknowledge an “inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”
Biden’s campaign events in Michigan have been much more restricted.
The former vice president did not open his stops in the metro Detroit area to the public, and Jill Biden limited members of the public into her visits to Grand Rapids and Battle Creek Tuesday.