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President Trump during a rally on March 2, 2020. Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

President Trump's campaign will require temperature checks and will distribute face masks and hand sanitizer to each person attending his rally in Tulsa on Saturday, a spokesperson said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision to move ahead with the rally as the number of coronavirus infections continues to be on the rise in many states has prompted scrutiny from public health experts and local officials in Tulsa. It will be the first rally by any presidential candidate since the pandemic was declared in March.

  • Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said Monday that masks would be optional, telling Fox News: "The American people can make decisions for themselves, we're all pretty informed about Covid at this point."
  • Trump tweeted earlier Monday: "The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!"

What they're saying:

“The campaign takes the health and safety of rally-goers seriously and is taking precautions to make the rally safe. Every single rally goer will have their temperature checked, be provided a face mask and hand sanitizer. We are also taking precautions to keep rally-goers safe in the Oklahoma heat — including providing water bottles to keep people hydrated.
— Erin Perrine, deputy communications director for the Trump campaign

Between the lines: Two of Trump's recent high-dollar fundraisers had more rigorous safety precautions for top Republican donors than the rally will, including requiring a negative coronavirus test, a wellness questionnaire and temperature checks, NBC News reports.

  • Tulsa City-County Health Department director Bruce Dart told Tulsa World that he wishes Trump would postpone the rally, citing a "significant increase" in coronavirus case trends that could put both the public and Trump himself at risk.
  • There's also expected to be a heat wave in Tulsa, which may complicate temperature readings, according to NBC.

Go deeper ... Tulsa World editorial: "Wrong time" and "wrong place" for Trump rally

Go deeper

Sep 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign goes all in on Pennsylvania

Trump poster in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The president's campaign is placing more importance on Pennsylvania amid growing concern that his chances of clinching Wisconsin are slipping, Trump campaign sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, twice Wisconsin's number, actually has been trending higher in recent public and internal polling, a welcome development for the campaign.

30 mins ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

41 mins ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.