WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump claimed in an interview aired Sunday he wanted to hold a “big rally” in Michigan but was told that he couldn’t.
He said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is keeping measures in place that would keep him from having such a rally as a way to hurt him politically, rather than being necessary to control the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump veered from comments about the economy to say Democrats “are purposely keeping their schools closed, keeping their states closed” before making the claim about Michigan.
“I called Michigan. I want to have a big rally in Michigan. Do you know we’re not allowed to have a rally in Michigan?” he said. “Do you know we’re not allowed to have a rally in Minnesota? Do you know we’re not allowed to have a rally in Nevada? We’re not allowed to have rallies in these Democrat-run states.”
Wallace pointed out the potential health risks involved with a large rally, noting reports that a rally held by Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month may have led to a spike in coronavirus cases in the area.
Trump said “some people” believe it would be “fine” to hold rallies and claimed he was being victimized by Democratic officials. “I guarantee you, if everything was gone 100%, they still wouldn’t allow it. They’re not allowing me to do it. So they’re not – they’re – they’re not allowing me to have rallies.”
A spokeswoman for Whitmer, Tiffany Brown, told the Free Press the office has received no communication from the Trump campaign about its desire to have a rally. Requests for details or comment on the proposed rally sent to the state Republican Party and the Trump campaign were not immediately answered Sunday afternoon.
Under Whitmer’s executive orders to control the spread of COVID-19 in place at present, though, large gatherings are mostly not permitted across the state. In lower Michigan, which is the most populous region of the state, outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and indoor ones are limited to 10.
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In parts of northern Michigan and on the Upper Peninsula, indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people and outdoor ones are restricted to 250 people or less.
While a large rally would violate those limits, it’s not known, however, whether any action would be taken to try to stop such a rally. Protests held in Lansing against Whitmer’s restrictions saw some protesters violating those orders without any move to stop those events. In May, Trump visited a Ford Motor Co. plant in Ypsilanti despite Whitmer’s orders that plant tours and such events were prohibited.
Earlier this month, Whitmer issued new guidelines saying Michiganders must wear face masks in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor public places and that businesses if they can medically tolerate them to combat a recent uptick in cases in the state.