Nikki Fried urges Trump campaign rally attendees to mask up against COVID-19

President Trump stands unmasked among supporters, many also unmasked, at a campaign rally in Sanford on Oct. 12, his first since contracting COVID-19. Screenshot credit: PBS

With President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence planning multiple rallies across Florida, leading Democrats are again voicing concern that those events could become vectors for COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Anytime that Trump comes to not just the state of Florida, but across the country, we are seeing this as an opportunity for super spreaders,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said during a Friday virtual presser hosted by the Florida Democratic Party.

In early October, President Trump announced via Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. Additional White House officials contracted COVID as well.

Trump events have tended lack of adherence to health experts’ safety guidelines such as social distancing and wearing facial coverings.

Nikki Fried
Nikki Fried. Photo: Kevin Cate

Fried, the only elected Democratic official serving on the Florida Cabinet, blasted Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis for demonstrating poor precautionary measures during previous campaign events ahead of the general election.

“We saw when he was here in the state of Florida last week, and our own governor was walking around high-fiving everybody and then touching his face. Again, no one having masks on and everyone really kind of closed in together,” she said.

“We are seeing increases of COVID again not just in the state of Florida, but across the country.”

Trump will appear at a rally in Pensacola on Friday evening. Vice President Mike Pence has scheduled an event on Saturday evening at the Tallahassee International Airport.

“We would ask anyone who is attending to please social distance as much as possible or wear your masks or just don’t attend,” Fried said. “This is certainly a wrong message to be sending to our country to continue having these events with no precautions for the spread of the virus.”

Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.