POTUS and campaign flouted agreements to socially distance, follow COVID guidelines at Duluth rally

As Minnesota continues to surge in its percent postivity in COVID-19 cases, we continue to see stories leaking concerning the role of superspreader events (the first, perhaps, being Sturgis) in the state’s exponential growth in total cases. What’s more troubling, though, is how susbsequent events (like the much hyped Duluth rally in late Sept.) unfolded as local and municipal officials failed to stand firm against POTUS and his administration’s crass and reckless disregard for public safety.

E-mails and other documents obtained by the Washington Post through open-records requests show that Duluth officials insisted on adherence to the rules, and the campaign responded by making commitments it ultimately did not keep. The documents also show that local officials suspected the campaign would violate the agreement, but shied away from enforcing public health orders for fear of provoking a backlash.

“We will not incite an incident by unilaterally taking physical action to close the event,” the airport’s executive director, Tom Werner, wrote to the airport’s appointed board members the morning before the event.

Democrats in the region knew, as cases were just beginning to spike in rural and greater Minnesota, what a danger POTUS and his rally would mean to the Iron Range.

The campaign initially told city officials it expected up to 9,000 people, according to a Sept. 25 e-mail the local fire chief, Shawn Krizaj, sent to his deputies. Krizaj wrote that he was trying to work with airport officials and the campaign to ensure the rally complied with the governor’s cap on public gatherings.

The following day, City Council Member Joel Sipress e-mailed the city’s Democratic mayor, Emily Larson. “Whether the event is indoors or outdoors, under the law the attendance must be limited to 250 people,” he wrote. Larson responded that she was still getting more information about the event but added: “We have been explicit and clear on this with them.”

Sipress, a Democrat, also wrote to two airport authority board members that he believed the airport was “legally obliged” to ensure the campaign obeyed the state’s limit. The Duluth Airport Authority, or DAA, has a seven-member board appointed by the mayor.

As airport officials fielded e-mails and calls, Werner, the airport’s executive director, sought to assure the members of the DAA. He wrote that he would require the campaign to sign a written agreement pledging to follow public health orders. […]

Krizaj told the Post that city officials expected that the campaign would encourage social distancing and masks. “We were kind of under the impression that there would be a little bit more enforcement from campaign staff and volunteers, which we did not see,” he said.

POTUS continues to run a scorched earth campaign, as he knows all of his protective, insulating power will immediately disappear at 12:01 on 1/20/2021 should he lose this election.

Michael L. Douglas @doctorpundit

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