Rachel Maddow gave an almost giddy recitation of all the laws that the RNC might break, from Melania Trump’s speech in the White House Rose Garden to using a Federal Building for partisan purposes. But one of the most deadly might be if they allow more than 50 people to be inside at the same time.
The current scuttlebutt is that multiple people will be attending in person at both DC AND North Carolina venues. Depending on the venue local and Federal laws on mask mandates & the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings could be broken. Who will be sent to ensure compliance? The Mayor of D.C.? The Mayor of Charlotte? The Surgeon General?
UPDATE: 5:41pm PDT I CALLED IT!
From WSOCTV-Charlotte (Link)
Several delegates inside the Convention Center could be seen not wearing masks on the floor, which drew the ire of Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris.
“I have just shared concern about the lack of mask-wearing and social distancing in the room at the RNC Roll Call Meeting with the RNC Convention staff,” she said. “I have been assured that they are working hard to address these issues. All attendees agreed to comply with the requirements prior to attending and were informed that these requirements would be enforced.”
It would be nice to have video or photos to see which of the 336 delegates were maskless. Do they have their test results? Did everyone know at this time? What about all the workers in the hall? Also, we know that they have PLANS to do the right thing, but when they don't like in Tulsa and Phoenix the consequences are deadly.
Hermain Cain is dead. People who attended the Tulsa rally got infected.
These are both facts. This information SHOULD have BEEN used by the public health community as evidence to prevent ANY more large scale, in-person indoor rallies, especially when there are no-mask requirements and enforcement of social distancing rules. The information DID lead to Pence cancelling an event in Jacksonville, but it could have led to even MORE scientific proof that these types of events are deadly and should be banned NATIONWIDE. Why wasn’t it? I detail the reasons below, and how to stop them in the future.
There will be multiple Hatch Act violations coming from Trump Campaign. Will Henry Kerner, at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the agency responsible for enforcing the Hatch Act, be geared up to cite the violators as they make violations? Of course not! He’ll wait for someone to fill out this form exactly then mail it in. Considering the postal sabotage I’d FAX it to them at 202-254-3700. You can alert them via tweet, but I don’t know if the tweeted form to @US_OSC counts.
What if you spot an FEC violation? Is there a FEC SWAT Team that will bust down the doors of the Andrew Mellon Auditorium and rush the stage? Nope! Ellen L. Weintraub @EllenLWeintraub the @FEC chair will wait for your complaint. Details here. In 30-90 days you might get a ruling, usually a warning. Something like, “Don’t do that again!”
The press can point out law breaking violations the moment they happen, but the citing and enforcement process takes months. In real time Trump’s Campaign will probably dispute them (and make a change so they are technically not breaking a law. )
I try to think, write and act strategically so it’s insanely frustrating when I see opportunities for the Democrats to nail Team Trump and their enablers when they break laws, not just norms.
Team Trump always breaks norms, but when they break laws (and we KNOW they are going to based on past performance) BE PREPARED to bust them by anticipating HOW they will try to weasel out of that crime by using another trick, then bust them for that! And then use that action to make news of the multiple bustings.
Rachel comments, “It’s the Trump Era, What does law mean!” It feels like the Dem strategy now is. “Let them break more laws, just vote them out in November!" We need to keep on them for law breaking, because even if we win in November the time between then and January 21 all the usually tricks will be pulled out and adapted to his lame duck status.
What actually happens now is that Team Trump tries something, someone pushes back, they figure out some way around it and do it again slightly different. Here’s the process:
- Legislation: Make up something, get sued, go to court, lose, change the executive order, try again. See Muslim Ban versions 1, 2 & 3.
- For FEC violations they argue, it’s investigated and they pay a fine, “It’s just the cost of doing
- Bribes, payoffs, threatening witnesses: They break the law, go to court, lose and a scapegoat gets arrested to take the hit. “We'll pardon you later if you don’t sing.” (Stone vs. Cohen)
- Authoritarian acts: The question the wording of laws and actions. “It wasn’t tear gas! They used PepperBalls(™).”
Get ready for more teargaslighting from Kayleigh!
Team Trump reuses tactics. As they said on Battlestar Galactica, “All of this has happened before, and will happen again.” But they do learn and adapt–so should we!
HOW THEY AVOID PROOF TRUMP’S RALLIES ARE DEADLY
Because there was no coordinated plan from the Democrats at the time to prove Trump Rallies are deadly superspreader events, we can’t use that for legal and public health pressure to prevent the Trump Campaign from doing it again. As I said, they learn and adapt. They avoid responsibility by using loopholes in different states and situations.
For example, it wasn’t illegal to be maskless inside a Tulsa venue or in Phoenix. It wasn't illegal to go maskless in South Dakota either, but they held it outside to show they are moving on the issue. But still there was no social distancing, no testing of the whole audience and ONLY the people around Trump like Kimberly Guilfoyle got the 30 minute tests.
I’m hoping some highly-paid Dem strategists or activist group is already thinking like me and doing this, which would be great, but frankly the public health community should have done this to stop in-door maskless, no distance rallies. They didn’t because of pressure from Republican governors and they don't want to appear partisan. The can say, ""All events like this must be banned, no matter political ideology."
Why No Rally Pre-Test, No Post Rally Isolation and Testing? Trump Doesn’t Want to Know
The Trump campaign doesn’t want to have proof that people got the virus at an indoor, maskless, no social distancing rally. But state public health could have had proof. It could have been a perfect experiment
1) Arrange for everyone to be tested–with a fast test– before entry.
2) People who tested negative before the rally would then isolated themselves for 2-5 days post rally to incubate.
3) Post rally testing would be followed by post rally isolation until results are in.
4) If post rally test was positive, the Public health department would be alerted in order to do contact tracing with all the people at the rally.
BTW, this protocol was RECOMMENDED by the Oklahoma Health Department.
“But Spocko,” you lament, “The Trump people weren’t going to cooperate to show you where they got sick! They aren’t going to isolate after a rally! They weren't going to tell their own Government who they met with before and after they tested positive! And besides, there are so many people at the Rally, contact tracing would be impossible!”
I heard you through my mind mend and I thought the same thing, that is why I wrote to the reporters and camera crews in Tulsa recommending that they ALL do this.
4 @NBCNews OK outlets. Did you send reporters & crew to the Tulsa rally? What's your plan if it turns out to have been a superspreader event? @KJRH2HD @KKeleherKJRH @Tatianna_KJRH @JRBoh @MauraNYC @rebeccacheng6@Evan_Rosenfeld @11thHour @eb_reports@chrislhayes @maddow @suekroll https://t.co/rTq3kZA856
— Spocko (@spockosbrain) July 4, 2020
I did this for two reasons. First because I got to talk to several great Tulsa reporters like Whitney Bryen @SoonerReporter, Stetson Payne @stetson__payne, Cory Jones @JonesingToWrite and Trevor Brown
@tbrownOKC and I didn’t want them to get sick.
Second because if they DID get sick they could have PROOF where they caught it to alert others. Tragically because Oklahoma State Department of Health had no fast testing reporters had to wait days-- while possible infected traveled home spreading the virus.
When Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies @pmonies tested positive for COVID after the rally he didn’t have proof where he got it. But It's not his job to think like a public health person who wanted to prove that the indoor rallies are superspreader events.
BTW, we COULD have hard proof about where Herman Cain caught the virus. If this was a murder mystery using modern CSI and all the data we have on people, we’d know by the end of the episode.
I keep pushing the need to build chriminal, civil and ethical cases and against this group of radicals that violate norms, break laws and don’t care if others die. I can see the future, we need to plan ahead.
If I was a news person attending RNC (or a union camera person, I’d demand testing before, isolation afterwards with new testing 5 days after the event. I suggest you tweet this story to MSNBC's HR dept! (And yes, I would even say the same thing to Fox News and The Apprentice camera operators working the RNC. I’m not a monster!)
Remember that the day of the Tulsa rally, it was announced that some of Trump advance team and Secret Service were infected (we know this because people around Trump get fast tests.) I can anticipate the same will happen at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium and in the venue in Charlotte. What should be the response from the media?
1) Ask the in-person delegates if they were tested.
(They might have had temp checks, but everyone should have been tested by now so results are ready before it starts Monday.
2) Ask EVERYONE in attendance at in-person events if they were tested before hand. If not, why not?
If they weren't tested--because they weren't around Trump--why didn't they get tested anyway? Because they were asymptomatic? That's an excuses used to cover made because of lack of testing.
Bottom line, Team Trump DOESN'T WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW. The delegates will play along, but what about the workers and media? ASK THEM!
UPDATE: FROM WSOCTV Note they are only talking attendees, not convention staff or media.
Attendees were asked to practice enhanced social distancing and get tested prior to travel, fill out a pre-travel health questionnaire and participate in a daily symptom tracker. They’re also being tested onsite, have been asked to maintain a 6-foot (1.8-meter) distance from other people and to use face coverings as a condition of participation — though many attendees were seen openly flouting those rules Monday morning. The RNC has also committed to contacting every participant five, 14 and 21 days after the event to check on potential symptoms.
How do you punish the reckless, deadly behavior of the Trump Campaign?
I spoke to Paul DeMuro, one of the lawyers who sued to prevent the Tulsa Rally. PDF Link to Petition He told me the case is still open! It’s not against Trump, it’s against the SMG and ASM Global Parent Inc., that company that ran the venue.
He said that it would be difficult to show the direct connection of infection at the event UNLESS someone did exactly as I suggested to the reporters in Tulsa before the event. (Gosh I hope someone in MSNBC's HR or Tulsa's News @KJRH2HD Department did!)
If ASM Global gets linked to the outbreak, they will be financial liable and if that happens they will roll on the Trump campaign that broke the protocols that were agreed to before hand. “Hey we put "DON'T SIT HERE!" stickers on every other chair. The Trump Campaign removed them! Watch the video!!!”
I spoke to DeMuro July 30th, right after Cain died, but I didn't write about it until now. Demuro was very respectful and expressed his condolences to the family. He was clear about pointing out that at that time there was no evidence about where Cain got the virus. He had not heard from anyone from Cain's estate or family. However, the case is still open! Who sat around him? Might they have proof they were COVID-19 free pre-event?
Make Team Trump pay. Hit them in the wallet.
It's been proven before how COVID-19 spreads, but hard evidence from this rally could drive nationwide laws banning these events, not just "CDC recommendations." It's also important to bust Team Trump FINANCIALLY, because he cares about money first. Then when he goes to a friendly state without a law or a friendly venue like his golf course in a state with a law, like New Jersey, there would be be legal and negative financial precedent for future cases.
It's important to remember that these rallies spread infections all over the state and country. Maybe you met the criteria! And as they say in the ads, "You might be eligible for financial compensation!"
This week I hope the workers and media attending the events at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium and the Charlotte venue have thought strategically about testing and isolation after the RNC, not just for their own sake, but to help stop Trump’s Campaign from having more potentially deadly in-person events.