Mike Pence defends Trump protests despite coronavirus spikes

Vice President Mike Pence defended holding re-election meetings for President Trump on Friday as parts of the country report huge spikes in new coronavirus infections.

Pence cited the freedom of expression and assembly of the Constitution and pointed to the November presidential elections.

Well, freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly is enshrined in the United States Constitution. And we have an election for this fall, ”Pence said in response to a journalist’s question at the first coronavirus task force meeting in months.

Trump and Pence organized their first reelection meeting since March 2 on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. About 6,200 supporters participated, far less than expected, and most refused to wear masks from the Trump campaign. This week, Trump also spoke to hundreds at an Arizona church.

“Even in a health crisis, the American people do not lose our constitutional rights, and by working with state officials, as we did in Oklahoma and Arizona, we are creating environments where people can choose to participate in the political process and we will continue to do so, Pence said.

Pence said he and Trump “believe that by taking the appropriate steps, as we have created assessments at recent events and giving people the best advice we have, we still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process and we respect it. ” “

Trump told reporters this month that he plans to organize additional protests in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.

According to the Trump campaign, six advanced Tulsa employees tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before Trump and Pence arrived. Two aides who attended the demonstration later tested positive as well.

Tulsa is among the areas in the US that have seen a rise in coronavirus cases this week as states reopen after tight restrictions on business and public gatherings.

But Pence said he was “happy to say that now, for most of the week since we were in Oklahoma, I think his positivity rate has actually decreased as of today, and that’s a great testament to the fact that people use common sense. ” “