Following his anticipated announcement of his Supreme Court nominee, President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The president was criticized by Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in a statement on Friday for mounting the “unsafe” event in the Keystone State.
According to Penn Live, Trump is expected to make his announcement for the Supreme Court Justice nomination from the White House on Saturday before heading to Pennsylvania for the rally to be held at the Harrisburg International Airport.
In a statement released on Friday, Wolf called out Trump for earlier rallies that he said didn’t receive permission from his administration and didn’t follow COVID guidelines. He said the Trump campaign didn’t respond to a letter from his office “asking them to abide by the commonwealth’s COVID-19 mitigation measures in order to keep our residents safe,” sent on September 10.
The governor continued: “I am requesting that the President of the United States not endanger Pennsylvanians by holding unsafe rallies that will put Pennsylvania communities at risk.”
Wolf called the decision to hold the rally in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic irresponsible, calling it “flat out wrong” to mount the gathering with thousands packed in close quarters.
“It is gravely concerning that the president would insist on holding this event with blatant disregard for social distancing and masking requirements,” he said. “[A]ll Americans should be very concerned that the president has put headlines and publicity above the health and safety of our families and communities.”
Trump has shared photos and videos from other recent rallies on his Twitter account, many showing large crowds of people seemingly not practicing social distancing and not wearing masks.
Wolf also asked those who choose to go to the rally to follow COVID guideline such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing—before pivoting to criticizing Trump for the way he’s handled the pandemic.
“It is dangerous and disappointing that the president continues to ignore science and his own health advisors while putting the lives of those who support him at risk. The president has admitted to lying about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the meantime, our country has lost more than 200,000 lives on his watch. While we continue to see only tepid and contradictory attempts at leadership from the White House, families have lost loved ones, the economy has taken a massive hit and communities are crying out for help.
He also said that rather than holding a rally, Trump should remain in Washington and try to help Pennsylvanians by working on issues including “unemployment assistance, state and local aid, hazard pay and a cohesive strategy for pulling the country out of this pandemic as quickly as possible.”
Wolf’s statement ended with him calling the president’s decision to mount rallies “dangerous,” “manipulative” and “wrong.” He concluded with one last call for the president to avoid holding Saturday’s event. “I would ask the president, for once, to put the health of his constituents ahead of his own political fortunes,” he said.
Newsweek reached out to Wolf’s office for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication. Press contacts for the Trump campaign did not respond to Newsweek’s emailed request for comment prior to the publication of this article.