Trump to Host Outdoor New Hampshire Rally With Masks Encouraged

President Donald Trump will hold an outdoor rally in New Hampshire on July 11 at which face coverings are “strongly encouraged,” a change in tone after months of skepticism about the value of wearing masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The event is set for 8 p.m. EDT outside the Portsmouth International Airport, the Trump campaign said on Sunday.

Attendees will have “ample access” to hand sanitizer and “will be provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear,” the campaign said.

Trump has been eager to restart rallies after putting them on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic and widespread stay-at-home orders. The Portsmouth event will be Trump’s second campaign rally in a month, after an indoor event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20 drew a smaller-than-expected crowd.

The Tulsa rally didn’t feature social distancing, and mask-wearing wasn’t specifically promoted. A number of campaign staff were diagnosed with the coronavirus before the event, and at least two prominent Republicans in attendance, including 2012 presidential hopeful Herman Cain, have since tested positive.

Democrats in New Hampshire blasted the president for hosting a rally that will “further highlight” what they called “the chaos he has caused” during the pandemic.

“Trump’s response to the Covid-19 crisis has been chaotic and woefully inadequate, resulting in thousands of Granite Staters contracting the virus and hundreds of lives lost, while causing significant damage to our state’s economy,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said in a statement.

New Hampshire has had over 5,800 coronavirus cases and recorded some 380 deaths.

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