Disease Specialist Says Trump’s Mount Rushmore Event is ‘Extremely Dangerous’ and ‘Behavior of a Cult Leader’

Celine Gounder, a prominent infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist, told CNN that President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July speech and fireworks show at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is “beyond irresponsible” (MORE VIDEO BELOW).

CNN reports that “no social distancing is planned for the event despite the record-high new coronavirus cases in the United States,” despite people coming in from different states. Several states have seen record rates of COVID-19 infections, reports the Washington Post.

Video of Trump fans, most of whom are not wearing masks, was tweeted by CNN’s Betsy Klein as they headed into the amphitheater at Mount Rushmore, which will cram 7.500 people together.

Gounder told CNN that Trump is acting like “cult leader”:

This is the behavior of a cult leader who is jumping off the cliff, except he’s jumping off into a safety net where he has protections around him. People around him are being tested. He’s being tested on a regular basis. While he asks his followers to jump off a cliff into nothing.

I mean, this is extremely dangerous behavior and unfortunately, this has become so politicized where you abide by public health and scientific recommendations on the basis of your political beliefs not based on the science. And people are really going to be harmed as a result of this.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota bragged on Fox News there would not be any social distancing on June 29:

We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing.

(Sources: Betsy Klein/Twitter, CNN, CNN, The Hill, The Washington Post)

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