After months of defying public health experts and common sense by holding massive rallies in the midst of a pandemic, President Donald Trump reportedly plans to close out the presidential campaign by hosting an election night blowout inside the White House. The New York Times reports that, according to people familiar with the planning, Trump aides “are discussing inviting roughly 400 people” to the indoor party at the executive mansion.
The news comes barely a month after the September 26 White House event celebrating the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett—a gathering that may have contributed to the COVID-19 outbreak that infected numerous staffers and GOP officials and resulted in the hospitalization of the president and Chris Christie. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, has called the Barrett reception a “superspreader event.” In June, Trump held a large rally in Oklahoma, despite warnings from local experts that the event could result in hundreds of new COVID cases. Herman Cain, a close Trump ally who attended the rally, subsequently tested positive for the virus and died a month later—though it’s not known where he contracted the disease.
Despite these high-profile disasters, the Trump team’s disregard for public safety hasn’t diminished in recent weeks. Late last month, Vice President Mike Pence chose to continue attending campaign events, despite being in close contact with several staffers who had tested positive. According to the Times, new COVID cases in Washington, DC, have risen by 35 percent in the past two weeks. The president doesn’t seem to care if he makes the problem worse.