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Tuesday, August 03, 2021
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Two campaign rallies originally scheduled to take place in Green Bay and La Crosse on Saturday were canceled Friday after President Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Local leaders had asked Trump to stay away from COVID-19 hotspots in Wisconsin. 

Trump’s Wisconsin rallies canceled after testing positive for COVID-19

Two Trump campaign events scheduled for Saturday were canceled following President Trump’s announcement he had tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday morning. The rallies were originally scheduled to take place in La Crosse and Green Bay, two major coronavirus hotspots. 

Trump announced on Twitter at 1 a.m. Friday morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive. The Trump campaign said Friday afternoon that all previously scheduled events involving the president would be postponed or held virtually. 

Before testing positive on Thursday, Trump changed his rally location from La Crosse to Janesville after La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabay and Gov. Tony Evers both asked Trump not to hold the rally.

The Janesville Police Department confirmed to NBC15 early Friday morning that it had been notified that Trump would not rally in Janesville. 

Prior to the event cancellations, Democrats urged Trump not to visit Wisconsin, citing a rise in caseloads. Wisconsin was flagged as having the third-highest rate of new cases in a recent White House Coronavirus Task Force report

La Crosse and Green Bay were cited as “red zones” by the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, signifying the highest level of concern for community spread. Some hospitals in Green Bay and the Fox Valley are close to reaching full capacity. 

The Rock County Board of Supervisors issued a statement Thursday urging Trump not to visit Janesville. 

“Rock County is experiencing an unprecedented pandemic that threatens the health of our residents,” County Board Chair Kara Purviance said. “It is irresponsible of the President to hold a rally that will put Rock County citizens in danger of contracting and spreading the virus.” 

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich also called on Trump to avoid visiting the area. 

“Any massive gathering of people that occurs without social distancing, without masking has the possibility of being a super-spreader event," Genrich told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I don’t think the president would want to be involved in something like that."

Before Trump said he had tested positive, Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt said that Trump’s rallies have been held outside and attendees have been offered hand sanitizer and masks. At a recent Trump rally in Mosinee, thousands of people gathered mostly without masks, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The timeline for Trump’s diagnosis remains unclear, but White House physician Sean Conley told reporters Friday that Trump was “72 hours into the diagnosis now,” meaning the positive test result was known on Wednesday. Trump’s campaign was finalizing plans for the Janesville and Green Bay rallies around 3 p.m. Thursday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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However, Conley walked back his statement in an unsigned memo Saturday, stating that he meant to say “day three” instead of “seventy-two hours.” He clarified that Trump was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday evening. 

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Hope Karnopp

state news writer

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