WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has booked back-to-back Memorial Day appearances despite the coronavirus pandemic, at Arlington National Cemetery and at a historic Baltimore fort. Trump recently called Baltimore a “rat and rodent infested mess” and his mayor suggested Trump stay home.
Presidents typically honor fallen service members by laying a wreath and delivering a speech at the Sacred Cemetery in Virginia. But the pandemic, which is expected to claim its 100,000th America this week, has brought about changes this year. Trump will only lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He is expected to speak later at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Sanctuary in Baltimore. It was there that a poem, written after a huge American flag was raised to celebrate a significant victory over the British in the War of 1812, became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Trump has been steadily increasing his schedule in a bid to portray the nation as reverting to its pre-pandemic habits as it emerges from a devastating economic shutdown meant to slow the virus.
The United States leads the world with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 97,000 deaths, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.
So far this month, Trump has visited factories in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan that manufacture pandemic supplies. He was planning to be in Florida on Wednesday to watch two NASA astronauts soar into space, and he golfed at his private club in Virginia on Saturday and Sunday.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young criticized Trump’s visit, saying the trip sends the wrong message about stay-at-home guidelines and the city cannot afford the additional cost of a presidential visit at a time when she is losing $ 20 million. a month because of the pandemic.
“The fact that President Trump decides to pursue non-essential travel sends the wrong message to our residents,” Young, a Democrat, said in a statement last week. He referred to the disproportionate effect the virus has had on his city and called on Trump to “set a positive example” by not traveling on holiday weekend.
The White House seemed impassive.
“The courageous men and women who have preserved our freedoms for generations have not stayed at home and neither have the president because he honors their sacrifice by visiting a historic monument in our country’s history,” the door said. – White House speech Judd Deere in an emailed statement. Sunday.
Trump will travel to Baltimore just over a week after Maryland began lifting some of the restrictions it had put in place for the coronavirus, although they remain in effect in Baltimore. Baltimore and the Washington, DC area have the highest percentages of positive cases in the country, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Trump last summer described a congressional district that includes Baltimore as a “filthy rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
He traveled to Baltimore months later to address a meeting of Congressional Republicans, and a giant inflatable rat adorned with Trump-style hair and a red tie mocked a few blocks away. Trump has not visited any neighborhood in Baltimore.
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