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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
Jefferson4210140
Montgomery378894
Mobile3634134
Tuscaloosa196436
Marshall14959
Lee116737
Shelby105623
Madison10216
Morgan9553
Franklin84313
Walker84317
Dallas8088
Elmore80614
Baldwin6639
Etowah60613
Butler60427
Chambers57627
DeKalb5765
Tallapoosa56069
Autauga53011
Unassigned50924
Russell4690
Lowndes45719
Houston4244
Lauderdale4105
Limestone4030
Cullman3983
Pike3965
Colbert3635
Bullock3609
Coffee3522
Barbour3221
Covington3086
St. Clair2922
Hale28520
Wilcox2788
Marengo27711
Sumter27512
Calhoun2685
Clarke2645
Escambia2586
Talladega2576
Dale2410
Winston2293
Jackson2102
Chilton2062
Blount2041
Pickens2046
Marion20012
Monroe1942
Choctaw19112
Conecuh1786
Randolph1699
Bibb1671
Macon1668
Greene1647
Perry1350
Henry1293
Crenshaw1223
Lawrence1000
Washington987
Cherokee717
Lamar711
Fayette661
Geneva630
Coosa551
Clay532
Cleburne291
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 43509

Reported Deaths: 604
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby10028192
Davidson9237113
Rutherford252834
Hamilton246630
Trousdale14855
Sumner141752
Williamson101314
Knox9675
Out of TN9527
Putnam7837
Wilson77917
Robertson77611
Lake6900
Bledsoe6171
Sevier6083
Tipton6074
Bradley5503
Bedford5135
Montgomery4797
Macon3943
Unassigned3690
Hardeman2991
Maury2873
Fayette2732
Rhea2690
Loudon2611
Madison2472
Hamblen2204
Dyer2141
McMinn21017
Cheatham2021
Dickson1750
Blount1733
Cumberland1683
Monroe1324
Washington1310
Lawrence1245
Lauderdale1192
Coffee1080
Anderson1022
Jefferson1020
Gibson1001
Obion942
Hardin935
Smith901
Sullivan892
Greene852
Wayne770
Franklin753
Haywood712
Marshall711
Hickman700
Marion644
White633
Warren620
Weakley601
Cocke580
Grundy581
McNairy580
Lincoln560
Overton560
Carter541
Unicoi540
DeKalb520
Hawkins512
Giles501
Roane440
Henry420
Polk410
Carroll391
Campbell361
Johnson360
Grainger350
Henderson320
Meigs320
Crockett313
Perry310
Cannon270
Jackson260
Claiborne250
Morgan241
Sequatchie240
Chester230
Humphreys221
Decatur210
Stewart210
Fentress170
Clay160
Scott140
Benton121
Houston120
Union120
Moore70
Van Buren70
Lewis60
Pickett60
Hancock30

 

 

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