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Trump campaign rallies violate executive orders in Michigan, Whitmer says

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the president's campaign rallies are potentially "superspreader events."
Credit: AP
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer during a campaign rally at MBS International Airport, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Freeland, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Last week, President Donald Trump drew a crowd of thousands to an airport hangar in Freeland, Michigan at a campaign event. And Monday night, Donald Trump Jr. and Kid Rock held another widely attended event in Saginaw County. 

Thousands of people crowding together for these rallies have concerned health experts about the spread of COVID-19, especially as many do not wear masks. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday, while stumping for Jill Biden in Battle Creek, that these campaign events are violating her executive orders which limit the size of public gatherings, both indoors and outdoors. 

“They violate the executive orders without question,” Whitmer said. “They fly in the face of the best science. They fly in the face of what the president has acknowledged to Bob Woodward he knew when he was out tweeting ‘liberate Michigan.’” 

RELATED: Trump defies virus rules as 'peaceful protest' rallies grow

An MLive pool reporter asked Whitmer about the rallies. Executive orders in Michigan limit outdoor social gatherings and events to 250 people; indoor events are limited to 50. 

Excluded from the orders are First Amendment protected events, like protests. The Trump campaign has been calling the rallies "peaceful protests" to get around state orders that limit crowd sizes. 

Whitmer said this is what has the potential to create "superspreader events," which is when dozens of COVID-19 cases are tied to one shared location. The governor did not say if she would crack down if Trump planned another event in Michigan. 

“We have taken some steps to ensure these venues understand what the law is and I don’t know that there’s a whole lot more to add on at this juncture,” she said.  

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