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Photos show crowd of around 1,500 packed together and maskless on White House South Lawn for Trump’s speech at the RNC

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Guests gather to watch U.S. President Donald Trump deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


  • During the final night of the Republican National Convention Thursday, a crowd formed on the White House South Lawn to hear President Donald Trump speak, with little social distancing or mask wearing.
  • With a crowd estimated at around 1,500, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said “a number of people” on site would be tested for COVID-19, according to Bloomberg News.
  • An official release from the Trump campaign did not specifically mention masks or testing, saying that the company Patronus Medical is conducting “strict protocols” that will be “in full compliance with multiple guidelines.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On the final night of the Republican National Convention, about 1,500 people gathered on the South Lawn of the White House to hear President Donald Trump speak. The crowd didn’t appear to observe social distancing and few people in attendance wore masks. The Trump campaign issued a vague statement ahead of the speech that didn’t specify any testing protocols. 

Chairs being assembled on the lawn in the late afternoon drew initial concern for their lack of spacing, with most of the spots sitting only inches apart.

—Mark Knoller (@markknoller) August 27, 2020

Then, once the crowd began forming around sunset, a lack of mask wearing became apparent to reporters and photographers on the scene.

—Mark Knoller (@markknoller) August 28, 2020

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said “a number of people” at the event will be tested, according to Bloomberg News.

The Trump campaign’s statement on coronavirus protocols for the final night of the convention was vague, and did not specify what the testing situation would be or whether masks would be mandatory.

“Patronus Medical, a leading medical, safety, and health company, has worked in partnership with the Republican National Committee to make certain proper protocols are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals at convention venues.”
 
“These strict protocols are in full compliance with multiple guidelines set forth by the United States Centers for Disease Control, the District of Columbia Department of Public Health, and other leading authorities on health safety.”

Even though coronavirus research has found far fewer outdoor transmissions, packed areas like stadiums have been traced to “superspreader events.”

A prominent Harvard Medical School professor tweeted his concerns.

—Ashish K. Jha (@ashishkjha) August 28, 2020

Like other Trump campaign events, mask wearing was scant as attendees waited for the president to speak.

People wait for US President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on August 27, 2020.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images


Mask wearing at Trump rallies has been a lingering issue of the 2020 campaign since the debacle in Tulsa back in June.

While it is unknown precisely where he contracted the virus, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died from COVID-19 a little more than a month after the Trump Tulsa Rally, where he was in attendance. He was hospitalized with the virus two weeks later.

—Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) July 30, 2020

Two days after Cain announced positive test result, he expressed support for the Trump campaign’s decision not to require masks at the Mount Rushmore Fourth of July rally.

Some attendees did wear masks

Pat Cipollone (R), White House counsel for U.S. President Donald Trump, looks on as Trump prepares to deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump gave the speech in front of 1500 invited guests.

Alex Wong/Getty Images


Several notable Republicans were spotted on the South Lawn

Guests gather to watch U.S. President Donald Trump deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a staunch Trump defender in Congress, has flouted mask wearing mandates on the floor and was not wearing one Thursday night

US Representative (R-OH) Jim Jordan talks with another attendee ahead of US President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on August 27,

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images


Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, on the other hand, masked up and posed for the camera

US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is seen giving a thumb’s up ahead of US President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on August 27, 2020.

AUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images


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