President Trump abandoned plans to hold a rally Saturday night in La Crosse, Wis., and will move the event to another part of the state after the mayor pleaded for the event to be canceled because the area is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases.
The president planned to go ahead with rallies in Wisconsin, a key battleground state, even though the White House coronavirus task force said in a report this week that the state’s high rate of infections put the state in the “red zone” for new cases. “To the maximal degree possible, increase social distancing mitigation measures until cases decline,” it urged Wisconsin officials in a recent report.
La Crosse County is one of the trouble spots in the state: the White House coronavirus task force also designated the county a “red zone.” The mayor of La Crosse, Tim Kabat, told local reporters on Thursday that “the last thing we need is another spike in cases, we’re already in that severe or high risk, and we don’t need anymore.”
The president’s campaign said Mr. Trump will hold a rally at an airport hangar in Janesville instead of La Crosse. Janesville is in Rock County, which has seen spikes in coronavirus cases, but is designated as an “orange zone,” by the task force, indicating a less severe spread of the virus. But some local officials in Janesville pleaded with him on Thursday not to hold a rally there, either.
The virus is hitting Wisconsin hard, with hospital beds filling up as new cases and deaths surge. “We have to get this virus under control, and we cannot do that if folks continue to go about their lives as usual,” Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday on Twitter, when 26 new deaths were announced statewide, a single-day record.
“We need Wisconsinites to wear a mask if they have to go out,” Mr. Evers added, “but right now, the bottom line is that we need folks to stay home.”
A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s campaign insisted that the decision to change the venue was not related to the coronavirus, but was instead made because of an issue with “the lease” of the La Crosse location. The campaign still intends to hold a second rally in Green Bay on Saturday night as planned. The Green Bay area is in the red zone, according to the task force.