President-elect Joe Biden is planning to implement public safety measures for his Jan. 20 inauguration, in light of the raging coronavirus pandemic — a stark contrast to Donald Trump, who has continued to host potential superspreader events even as cases spike across the country.
Biden's inaugural committee issued a statement on Tuesday outlining initial plans for the event, urging "Americans to stay home, refrain from travel, and limit gatherings during the inauguration."
"President-elect Biden's unwavering commitment to the safety of the American people is our North Star as we plan an inauguration that protects public health while honoring inaugural traditions and engaging Americans across the country," said Maju Varghese, the committee's executive director.
The inauguration ceremony itself will include "vigorous health and safety protocols," the committee said.
"President-elect Biden will also deliver an inaugural address that lays out his vision to beat the virus, build back better, and bring the country together. The ceremony's footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined," the statement read.
The committee also urged Americans "to refrain from any travel and participate in the inaugural activities from home."
Activities will likely mirror the virtual features in August's Democratic National Convention, the Washington Post noted.
"This is a once-in-a-generation moment that we're in," Varghese told the Post. "The idea of some of the models you've seen through the pandemic — from screens at NBA games or different camera angles to watch events at home — are things our creative team and digital team is thinking about."
In sharp comparison, Trump has continued to flout safety guidelines and hold rallies across the country, even as the pandemic worsens in many places.
Earlier in December, Trump held a rally in Georgia where attendees packed together without masks or social distancing.
In November, just prior to the election, Trump traversed eight states, holding campaign rally after campaign rally where many did not wear masks and crowded closely together, ignoring COVID-19 safety measures.
Trump is also reportedly planning a counter-rally on the same day as Biden's inauguration that could potentially end up being a superspreader event. According to sources familiar with the discussions who spoke to NBC News on Dec. 1, the rally was at that time in the "preliminary planning" stages.
"Trump is keen on the idea of formally launching a 2024 campaign on Inauguration Day because that's when he filed for re-election in 2017," the outlet reported.
Although it's unclear what, if any, safety measures would be taken at that rally to prevent further spread of the virus, Trump's events have often followed a similar pattern, warning attendees ahead of time about mask requirements, but seemingly doing little to enforce them.
In fact, a recent Center for American Progress analysis found that county-level spikes in coronavirus cases followed half of Trump's 22 campaign rallies between June and September. In that same time period, a Stanford University study found that Trump's rallies led to over 30,000 COVID-19 cases in the United States.
That appears to indicate that guidelines are being flouted to the point that the virus is allowed to spread freely.
Despite those sobering statistics, Trump is still hosting White House holiday events.
In video of one such holiday party on Dec. 2, attendees without masks were heard coughing as Trump bragged about "trying to do another four years" in the Oval Office. Guests appeared crowded together with no social distancing.
Trump's campaign lawyer, Jenna Ellis, notably tested positive for the virus after attending one of the White House parties.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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