Trump cancels multiple events after giving coronavirus address highlighting risk of large crowds
President Donald Trump addressed the nation about the growing coronavirus pandemic, where he announced a temporary travel ban on travel from Europe and provide low-interest loans to small businesses.
President Donald Trump canceled several public events on Wednesday evening following a televised speech addressing the worsening coronavirus and reiterating experts’ warnings to avoid against large crowds.
Trump will no longer travel for events in Colorado and Nevada at the end of the week, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “out of an abundance of caution from the coronavirus outbreak.”
Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump’s 2020 campaign, cited the same reasoning for postponing a “Catholics for Trump” event next week in Milwaukee.
In addition to presidential travel, the White House has canceled a Thursday reception to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the visit of Ireland’s Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, an attendee told CNN. Both leaders had been scheduled to attend the annual Shamrock Bowl event at the White House, where Varadkar was to present the Shamrock Bowl.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the White House St. Patrick’s Day Reception” is canceled, the White House Social Office wrote in an email to guests shared with CNN.
CNN has asked if the rest of the Taoiseach’s meetings with the President will happen, but have not received a response. According to Trump’s public schedule, which does not reflect all of the President’s activities, Trump is still slated to meet with Varadkar on Thursday.
In light of coronavirus concerns, Trump also will no longer attend the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual meeting. The group announced Wednesday that it would reschedule the meeting.
“In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, in consultation with the White House and our outside experts, we have regretfully decided to postpone the RJC Annual Meeting, which was to be held this week in Las Vegas,” according to a press release from the group.
Trump was slated to attend the Las Vegas conference, as were administration officials, governors and members of Congress, the group said.
The slew of cancellations comes following Trump’s address on Wednesday, when he issued a ban on travel from Europe to the US — though US citizens and others are exempt — and echoed the administration’s prior calls for the public to avoid large crowds, especially the elderly.
“In general older Americans should avoid all essential travel in crowded areas,” Trump said. “My administration is coordinated directly with communities with largest outbreaks and we have issued guidance on school closures, social distancing and reducing large gatherings. Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.”
The RJC is not the first political conference to face issues stemming from the coronavirus. Five members of Congress, including Trump’s future chief of staff Rep. Mark Meadows, announced earlier this week that they would self-quarantine after coming into contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference.
And at least two people who attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference in Washington, DC, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the pro-Israel group said Friday evening.
A slew of other gatherings, namely athletic and educational events, have been canceled as the virus continues to spread.
The NBA announced Wednesday that it would be suspending its season after a player preliminarily tested positive for coronavirus. Earlier that day the NCAA said that while the men’s basketball tournament will continue, fans won’t be allowed to attend due to the virus’ spread.
Universities and schools nationwide have shuttered physical classrooms over coronavirus concerns, concentrated in places including the Seattle area, California and New York that have been hardest hit by the virus.