Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf slammed President and 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump for holding a campaign rally in Harrisburg despite the ongoing pandemic.
Trump's rally at Harrisburg International Airport is his latest effort to court Pennsylvania voters, following his two rallies in the Pittsburgh area earlier this month. Trump's packed rallies, including many unmasked attendees, have conflicted with state COVID-19 restrictions — indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 and 250 people, respectively, and mask-wearing is required in all public spaces.
The Trump campaign said rally attendees would be provided masks, but not all chose to wear them.
“It is gravely concerning that the president would insist on holding this event with blatant disregard for social distancing and masking requirements," Wolf said in a statement. "His decision to bring thousands of people together in a tight space in the midst of a global pandemic caused by an airborne virus is flat out wrong.”
Wolf's ability to mandate public gathering restrictions remains unclear after a recent federal ruling declared his statewide public gathering limits unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV said that the administration did not demonstrate that "imminent and irreparable harm" would occur if the limitations were not imposed.
Wolf’s critique of Trump has been rebuffed by Republican leaders. Vonne Andring, executive director of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania, alleged that Wolf's criticism of Trump is hypocritical after Wolf participated in a Black Lives Matter protest in June.
"To hold this event is not just misguided — it is dangerous, it is manipulative, and it is wrong," Wolf said. "I would ask Pennsylvanians to think of the health and safety of their families and their communities before attending this event or any rally put on by the Trump campaign. And I would ask the president, for once, to put the health of his constituents ahead of his own political fortunes."
Pennsylvania has recorded 156,826 coronavirus cases as of Sept. 28, with 8,107 deaths. A two-day total of 1,594 new positive cases was recorded over the weekend.