The Corner

White House

Fauci on Trump’s Tulsa Rally: Outdoors Is Better Than Indoors

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, April 17, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The hypocrisy of Democratic officials who enthusiastically backed mass protests even as they continued to ban larger outdoor gatherings for religious services has been outrageous.

But, as Jim Geraghty points out in today’s Morning Jolt, hypocrisy doesn’t mean the virus has gone away. We thankfully have not seen large outbreaks attributed to the protests — perhaps yet another sign that the virus doesn’t spread easily outside, particularly in the summer when many people are wearing masks. Yet we know the risk persists, especially at larger indoor gatherings.

“Personally, I wouldn’t attend a large gathering right now, especially one indoors. Certainly things held indoors are less safe than things held outdoors,” President Trump’s former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb said this week.

Asked about President Trump’s upcoming rally in Tulsa, Okla., Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the Daily Beast that “outside is better than inside, no crowd is better than [a] crowd.”

Despite the warnings and some chatter earlier this week about moving the Tulsa rally outside, the president is pushing forward with the indoor rally on Saturday at an arena that can seat 19,000 people.

I have not seen a good argument that indoor rallies are worth the health risk — or the political risk.

In February, Biden led Trump by seven points among independent voters over the age of 65, according to a Quinnipiac poll. Biden’s lead among independent seniors has now grown to 20 points in Quinnipiac’s latest poll.

Among seniors overall, Trump trails Biden by ten points. In 2016, Trump beat Clinton by seven points among voters over the age of 65.

Older voters, the Americans most vulnerable in this pandemic, are the voters Trump needs to win back to win the election. How is the sight of an indoor arena packed with thousands of Trump fans — many of whom will be chanting and not wearing masks — going to reassure the voters Trump needs most?

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