By Sabrina Edwards
President Donald Trump’s campaign repeated his 2016 move and ended his campaign in Grand Rapids, after stopping in Traverse City earlier in the day. His final stop was with Vice President Mike Pence, an outdoor rally that attracted thousands to gather at the Gerald R. Ford Airport.
“Do you want to be ruled by the corrupt and selfless political maniacs?” questioned Trump during Monday’s rally. “Or do you want to be ruled by the American people?”
Airport authorities reminded the group hosting the event, AvFlight, that they must adhere to the social distancing guidelines. During the rally, which had thousands of people, many of which weren’t wearing masks and were standing shoulder to shoulder. Outdoor gatherings according to state guidelines, are supposed to be no more than 1,000 people in attendance being spread out 30 people per 1,000 square feet. Face masks are also required by the state for all gatherings.
Currently, Michigan’s COVID-19 cases are worse than they were when the state shut down to stop the spread in March. The seven-day average this past Sunday was 2,879, which is the highest it’s ever been, the state also reported 50,000 active cases.
Trump’s rallies have been connected to more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases. With a surge in cases and the large turnout at Monday’s rallies in Traverse City and Grand Rapids, this could potentially cause an increase in reported cases here in Michigan.
When asked about the potential surge in cases due to the rally, a spokesman for the Kent County Health Department declined to comment Monday about the potential health impact of Trump’s rally.
During his Grand Rapids address, Pence repeated many statements he previously made during the debates and previous rallies. He was urging people to go vote stating, “Friends don’t let friends vote alone.” As well as asking people to vote for John James, who’s running for U.S. Senator against incumbent Gary Peters.
After Pence ended his speech, Trump’s family arrived from Wisconsin, and greeted people in the crowd, without wearing masks. Trump recalled the 2016 election night, stating that he will win Michigan again, but asked the cheering crowd to help him win by a larger margin.
Trump spoke again about many topics previously mentioned by Pence, from protests, to suburban voters and families, and calling for states to reopen, and specifically urged Michigan to reopen. While the virus surged across the country, Trump stated that the United States is “rounding the curve” of coronavirus, mentioning again that we are very close to having a vaccine. Meanwhile medical experts have stressed that a vaccine may be a long way off.
“If you want your life to be treated with dignity and respect, I am asking you to vote, vote, vote,” urged Trump.
Earlier Monday in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden spoke to potential voters.
“Tomorrow is the beginning of a new day,” Biden said during his rally. “Tomorrow we can put an end to a presidency that has left hard-working Americans out in the cold. Tomorrow we can put an end to a presidency that has divided this nation and fanned the flames of hate. Tomorrow we can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect this nation. Millions of Americans have already voted. Millions more will vote tomorrow.”
While there wasn’t a final Democratic rally held in West Michigan on the night before the election, Kent County Democrats have been working to spread voter awareness. Whether that be sending text messages, making phone calls, or going door to door.
“He (Trump) ended his first campaign here in 2016 at midnight in Grand Rapids, I’m sure he thinks he needs to do the same thing this time partly out of superstition or tradition, but things have changed a lot since 2016 and I’m afraid that Michigan, and particularly Kent County will not be voting for Donald Trump this year,” said Gary Stark, Chair of the Democratic Party in Kent County.