President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Henderson, Nevada is facing fierce backlash from one doctor, who is warning that it could prove deadly amid the coronavirus pandemic. Taking place Sunday night, the rally was held indoors and drew a crowd of thousands, despite the city's rules that prohibit indoor gatherings of more than 50 people. According to Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University and medical analyst for CNN, the rally is "negligent homicide."
Speaking with CNN Sunday just ahead of the event, Reiner condemned the gathering, just the latest of Trump's campaign rallies to be held amid the pandemic, stating, "what else could you call an act that because of its negligence results in the death of others?" Reiner explained that the rally, and any other similar gatherings, are almost guaranteed to become spreader events. He said, "people will get infected and some of those people will die."
"There has been a lot of talk about over whether the president played down the risks of this virus to his followers and the country as a whole. And you have to just look at what is going on now to understand that," he continued. "If you took this virus seriously, you would never hold an indoor rally or almost any rally now and particularly one that doesn’t enforce very strict rules on masks. People will die as a consequence of this. I think that Nevada has a law right now limiting gatherings to more than 50 people. So the president is defying that. Makes no sense."
The rally, held at a facility owned by Xtreme Manufacturing, marked the president's first indoor rally since June. Although aides said that attendees would have their temperature checked before entering and would be provided with a mask that they were encouraged, but not required, to wear, according to NBC News, the rally had drawn concern in the days leading up to it. In a statement on Sunday, Henderson authorities warned the event organizer both verbally and in writing that they must obey the governor's coronavirus rules, which prohibits gathering in groups larger than 50 people and also calls for the wearing of face coverings and social distancing.
However, Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign 2020 communications director, hit back at those statements, saying in a statement of his own that "if you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the President of the United States."
Meanwhile, a number of local officials have condemned the gathering, with Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak stating that Trump "is knowingly packing thousands into an indoor venue to hold a political rally," adding that the event was "a direct threat to all of the recent progress we've made and could potentially set us back." Rep. Don Beyer said that Trump is "using his position of power to spread COVID-19. People died after his last indoor rally," referencing his Tulsa rally.