President Donald Trump departed the White House on Saturday for an evening campaign rally in Georgia -- despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump is ostensively making the trip to support Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and interim Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in the January runoff elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate. However, Republicans fear Trump will use his speech to continue bashing GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump's visit also comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Georgia reported a record high of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Friday, and the worst is likely yet to come, health experts said. The new daily record followed three days of sharp increases, but state officials had attributed those spikes at least in part to laboratory and provider reporting backups from the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s no longer the case," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday.
"The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 4,947 net new confirmed infections and 1,429 net new antigen positive tests — or 6,376 combined cases — on Friday. The state also reported 43 confirmed new deaths attributed to COVID-19," the newspaper reported. "The seven-day rolling average of confirmed and antigen positive cases is now about 10% greater than the summer surge of confirmed cases in July. The positivity rate for the gold standard molecular PCR test is now 12%, the highest it’s been since early August. Experts say a rate over 5% suggests the state’s testing isn’t capturing the breadth of new cases."
Pictures from the rally show a large crowd without social distancing and few masks.
Thousands are gathering in Valdosta for the president’s rally later tonight. It’s Trump’s first runoff rally in Geo… https://t.co/xrFQuLPfcW— Greg Bluestein (@Greg Bluestein)1607203561.0
Waiting for our two-term President to take the stage in Valdosta, Georgia 🇺🇸🙏🏻❤️🙌🏼 #4MoreYears https://t.co/wYZ5SL1RaI— Anna Kraken (@Anna Kraken)1607203271.0
This is looking and feeling a lot like a pre-election Trump rally - same setup, same music, no social distancing. T… https://t.co/NhThwzrllt— Alexis Daish (@Alexis Daish)1607201470.0
The mainstream media says Joe Biden won the election. Over one month post-election, this is the crowd in Valdosta… https://t.co/B33GqW2Ni0— Jenn Pellegrino OAN🎄🇺🇸 (@Jenn Pellegrino OAN🎄🇺🇸)1607207996.0
Trump holding packed rally tonight in GA amid record COVID deaths and hospitalizations Just days ago Trump’s ex-c… https://t.co/Sq3sdKCwUo— Will Steakin (@Will Steakin)1607207214.0
See you tonight at 7PM, Georgia! https://t.co/gMYtLGGqzI— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1607185953.0