(Headline USA) An activist Virginia health official attempted at the last minute to thwart a planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump.
An estimated 4,000 people expected to attend Trump’s rally in a hangar at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport scheduled for Friday evening.
But Natasha Dwamena, a Department of Public Health district director whose area of expertise is OB/GYN, said in a letter Thursday that the rally would violate Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam‘s executive order generally banning gatherings of more than 250 people.
She said the rally should be canceled, rescheduled or scaled down to comply with the governor’s order.
“The rally poses a concerning public health risk,” Dwamena said in the letter, which was addressed to the private company that leases the hangar where the rally is set to take place.
Northam’s top health and transportation aides also sent letters Thursday to airport officials around the state reminding them that they have “the authority to enforce” the state’s laws.
But it’s unlikely to make a difference, as the Trump campaign has routinely flouted public health guidelines intended to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Many of the Left have likewise ignored guidelines and more authoritative lockdown orders when it has been politically inconvenient, as with recent social justice protests and race riots.
Some have attempted to argue, without evidence that the leftist gatherings are less dangerous since participants are more conscientious of the health risks.
John Fredericks, a conservative radio host and chairman of the Virginia delegation for the Trump campaign, said Democrats are trying to block the rally for political reasons.
“Panic has set in amongst Virginia Democrats,” Fredericks said.
Hillary Clinton easily won Virginia in 2016, and the state has not been a focal point of either campaign this year.
But the Old Dominion has since careened even farther to the Left than many of its citizens anticipated following the first election of Democrat majorities in the state legislature.
Controversial measures on radical gun control, abortion and, most recently, decriminalizing assaults on police officers have met with intense backlash that may factor into the equation for the state, which has a storied history of dramatically shifting political dynamics.
Newport News, the site of the rally, is one of the largest urban areas in Virginia and typically one of its Democrat-backing regions, but it is also home to a major Navy hub for aircraft carriers and submarines.
Fredericks said the internal polling data he sees each morning shows the race tightening to the point where he said it’s now winnable for Trump.
Trump’s campaign has insisted it takes appropriate health precautions—including handing out masks and hand sanitizer and checking the temperatures of rallygoers.
But many of his campaign rallies have seen thousands of maskless supporters standing shoulder to shoulder, something Dwamena noted in her letter.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press