Trump campaign rallies in North Carolina contradict White House advice for controlling COVID-19

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020
President Trump speaks to Winston-Salem crowd in 13th NC visit
President Trump speaks to Winston-Salem crowd in 13th NC visit

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- President Donald Trump's recent campaign rally in North Carolina contradicted White House guidance for safety measures to take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

ABC News obtained the White House Coronavirus Task Force weekly briefing for governors issued on Sept. 6, 2020. The document pinpoints North Carolina as being in a "red zone" for cases and a "yellow zone" for test positivity rate.

The report's first recommendation is to "encourage aggressive public messaging campaign and use of data to encourage local ordinances to enforce social distancing and mask mandates." The third recommendation from the report is to "identify which groups are not wearing face coverings and target educational efforts to them."

CLICK HERE to read the full White House weekly COVID-19 briefing for governors

Those recommendations were seemingly in contrast with Trump's visit to Winston-Salem on Sept. 8. There, some people in the audience, while given masks and encouraged to wear them by event staff, were seen ignoring social distancing guidelines and not wearing the masks.

Trump himself insinuated that the COVID-19 safety guidelines were politically motivated.

"It's a shame what's going on, and I'll tell you what, on Nov. 4, every one of those states will be open. They're doing it for political reasons."

Trump went on to say, "Your state should be open. It should be open," as he encouraged voters to vote out Gov. Roy Cooper.

On CBS This Morning the day after Trump's Winston-Salem rally, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it was frustrating to see Trump's rallies not following his own administration's guidelines.

"Yes, it is. And I've said that often. That situation is--we want to set an example, because we know, we know that when you do four or five typical kind of public health measures--masks, physical distance, avoiding crowds, making sure you do most things outdoors versus indoors--those are the kind of things that turn around surges and also prevent us from getting surges. So I certainly would like to see a universal wearing of masks."

Sen. Thom Tillis, who is up for re-election against Cal Cunningham, was spotted wearing a mask at the Trump rally in Winston-Salem.

The Aug. 30 weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing had North Carolina as the 20th highest in the country for COVID-19 cases. The state had jumped up to 18th in the Sept. 6 briefing.

Likewise, the state increased from 24th in test positivity rate to 23rd.