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Trump campaign scraps rally ahead of Sessions-Tuberville primary amid coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump's campaign has scrapped plans to hold a rally in Alabama next weekend amid concerns about coronavirus infections rising in the US, CNN has learned.

Posted: Jun 30, 2020 12:02 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2020 12:38 PM

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump's campaign has scrapped plans to hold a rally in Alabama next weekend amid concerns about coronavirus infections rising in the US, CNN has learned.

Trump was slated to travel to the state ahead of the Senate race between his former attorney general Jeff Sessions and the former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, but plans were called off as state officials voiced concerns about a mass gathering and campaign officials ultimately decided against it. A person close to the campaign said there are currently no rallies on the horizon, but aides are scoping out possible venues for when they decide to host them again.

"We don't ever confirm where we're looking until a rally date and location are announced. There is always work underway to identify sites," said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey announced an amended order, which will extend the current rules until the end of July. The order encourages minimizing travel outside the home and wearing face coverings when doing so. The order also states that "all non-work related gatherings of any size, including drive-in gatherings, that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from different households are prohibited."

The decision will likely be a welcome relief for Sessions, who once safely held the seat before becoming Trump's attorney general but is now locked in a tight race with Tuberville. The rally was slated to be held in his hometown.

The scrapped plans comes as Trump has continued to complain about the low turnout during his first return to the campaign trail in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he addressed an arena filled with empty seats. The campaign never formally announced the plans for the Alabama rally.

There had once been plans to announce new rallies shortly after Tulsa, with some of Trump's aides believing the event would validate their claims of pent-up demand. But instead the opposite occurred and the campaign began to rethink how Trump's rallies would look going forward, including weighing smaller events or outdoor venues.

Tulsa was Trump's first rally in three months since coronavirus restrictions were put in place and served as a stark reminder for the campaign -- and the President -- that the pandemic is far from over. Eight campaign staffers and two Secret Service agents in Tulsa tested positive for coronavirus and the rest of Trump's campaign staff who attended the rally quarantined the following week. The campaign conducted temperature checks, provided hand sanitizer to attendees and passed out masks, but did not require people to wear them or social distance during the event.

Signs promoting social distancing during the event were removed by campaign staff. A similar scene unfolded a few days later when Trump spoke at a crowded church in Arizona where few attendees wore masks.

Alabama, a deep-red state that overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016, began reopening in early May but is now one of dozens of states showing an upward trend in average new daily cases, an increase of at least 10%, in the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Trump had been itching to return to the campaign trail and was personally enthusiastic about the idea of traveling to Alabama days ahead of the Senate race where he's endorsed his former attorney general's opponent. He views the rallies as an outlet where he can connect with his supporters in a way that he can't inside when he's in Washington and has blamed bad poll numbers on his absence from the campaign trail.

But deeper concerns about his reelection chances are now surfacing inside the President's orbit. Several of Trump's allies have voiced concern for the first time in recent days that his chances of success in November are slipping away -- eroded mainly by his divisive behavior and refusal to calibrate his response to a series of national crises.

Several of them spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could talk candidly, but some of his allies are saying so publicly.

"Not many people are saying it out loud on the right, but the fact is that President Trump could well lose this election. In fact, unless fundamental facts change soon, it could be tough for him to be reelected," the Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his program last week. Trump is known to watch Carlson's program closely.

The President's allies are hopeful he can correct course in the next few months and are counting on a boost when he sits down to debate former Vice President Joe Biden. Another person close to Trump noted that at this time in the 2016 campaign, he still had the Access Hollywood tape saga ahead of him.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4387142
Montgomery383999
Mobile3697134
Tuscaloosa204938
Marshall153710
Lee118937
Shelby108223
Madison10577
Morgan9813
Walker86723
Franklin85213
Dallas8198
Elmore81314
Baldwin6869
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Butler60427
DeKalb6025
Chambers58127
Tallapoosa56369
Autauga54511
Unassigned52025
Russell4840
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4446
Houston4344
Limestone4090
Cullman4003
Pike3995
Colbert3685
Bullock3629
Coffee3532
Barbour3231
Covington3087
St. Clair3042
Hale29321
Marengo28611
Wilcox2808
Sumter27612
Calhoun2705
Talladega2677
Clarke2665
Escambia2636
Dale2440
Jackson2382
Winston2333
Blount2141
Chilton2112
Pickens2116
Marion20312
Monroe1972
Choctaw19212
Conecuh1804
Bibb1711
Macon1708
Randolph1709
Greene1667
Perry1451
Henry1303
Crenshaw1233
Lawrence1010
Washington1007
Cherokee747
Lamar711
Fayette671
Geneva670
Clay582
Coosa551
Cleburne291
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45315

Reported Deaths: 609
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby10344193
Davidson9769114
Rutherford264835
Hamilton253230
Trousdale14895
Sumner146952
Williamson109014
Out of TN10447
Knox9825
Wilson82917
Putnam8057
Robertson79211
Lake6900
Sevier6573
Bledsoe6181
Tipton6114
Bradley5803
Bedford5205
Montgomery4937
Unassigned4251
Macon4093
Hardeman3041
Maury2973
Fayette2922
Rhea2720
Loudon2651
Hamblen2634
Madison2552
Dyer2251
McMinn21617
Cheatham2141
Blount1883
Dickson1800
Cumberland1733
Monroe1354
Washington1340
Lawrence1335
Lauderdale1202
Coffee1090
Jefferson1070
Gibson1061
Anderson1042
Hardin1005
Obion982
Smith961
Sullivan912
Greene852
Franklin803
Wayne770
Haywood742
Marshall731
Hickman720
Cocke700
Marion674
Warren650
White643
McNairy620
Weakley611
Lincoln590
Grundy581
Overton571
Carter561
DeKalb540
Unicoi540
Hawkins512
Giles501
Roane460
Henry420
Polk410
Campbell391
Carroll391
Grainger370
Johnson370
Henderson350
Meigs320
Perry320
Cannon310
Crockett313
Claiborne280
Sequatchie280
Jackson260
Morgan241
Chester230
Humphreys231
Decatur210
Stewart210
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Clay160
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Houston120
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Pickett60
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