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Trump campaign scraps rally ahead of Sessions-Tuberville primary amid coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump's campaign has scrapped plans to hold a rally in Alabama next weekend amid concerns about coronavirus infections rising in the US, CNN has learned.

Posted: Jun 30, 2020 12:02 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2020 12:38 PM

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump's campaign has scrapped plans to hold a rally in Alabama next weekend amid concerns about coronavirus infections rising in the US, CNN has learned.

Trump was slated to travel to the state ahead of the Senate race between his former attorney general Jeff Sessions and the former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, but plans were called off as state officials voiced concerns about a mass gathering and campaign officials ultimately decided against it. A person close to the campaign said there are currently no rallies on the horizon, but aides are scoping out possible venues for when they decide to host them again.

"We don't ever confirm where we're looking until a rally date and location are announced. There is always work underway to identify sites," said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey announced an amended order, which will extend the current rules until the end of July. The order encourages minimizing travel outside the home and wearing face coverings when doing so. The order also states that "all non-work related gatherings of any size, including drive-in gatherings, that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from different households are prohibited."

The decision will likely be a welcome relief for Sessions, who once safely held the seat before becoming Trump's attorney general but is now locked in a tight race with Tuberville. The rally was slated to be held in his hometown.

The scrapped plans comes as Trump has continued to complain about the low turnout during his first return to the campaign trail in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he addressed an arena filled with empty seats. The campaign never formally announced the plans for the Alabama rally.

There had once been plans to announce new rallies shortly after Tulsa, with some of Trump's aides believing the event would validate their claims of pent-up demand. But instead the opposite occurred and the campaign began to rethink how Trump's rallies would look going forward, including weighing smaller events or outdoor venues.

Tulsa was Trump's first rally in three months since coronavirus restrictions were put in place and served as a stark reminder for the campaign -- and the President -- that the pandemic is far from over. Eight campaign staffers and two Secret Service agents in Tulsa tested positive for coronavirus and the rest of Trump's campaign staff who attended the rally quarantined the following week. The campaign conducted temperature checks, provided hand sanitizer to attendees and passed out masks, but did not require people to wear them or social distance during the event.

Signs promoting social distancing during the event were removed by campaign staff. A similar scene unfolded a few days later when Trump spoke at a crowded church in Arizona where few attendees wore masks.

Alabama, a deep-red state that overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016, began reopening in early May but is now one of dozens of states showing an upward trend in average new daily cases, an increase of at least 10%, in the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Trump had been itching to return to the campaign trail and was personally enthusiastic about the idea of traveling to Alabama days ahead of the Senate race where he's endorsed his former attorney general's opponent. He views the rallies as an outlet where he can connect with his supporters in a way that he can't inside when he's in Washington and has blamed bad poll numbers on his absence from the campaign trail.

But deeper concerns about his reelection chances are now surfacing inside the President's orbit. Several of Trump's allies have voiced concern for the first time in recent days that his chances of success in November are slipping away -- eroded mainly by his divisive behavior and refusal to calibrate his response to a series of national crises.

Several of them spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could talk candidly, but some of his allies are saying so publicly.

"Not many people are saying it out loud on the right, but the fact is that President Trump could well lose this election. In fact, unless fundamental facts change soon, it could be tough for him to be reelected," the Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his program last week. Trump is known to watch Carlson's program closely.

The President's allies are hopeful he can correct course in the next few months and are counting on a boost when he sits down to debate former Vice President Joe Biden. Another person close to Trump noted that at this time in the 2016 campaign, he still had the Access Hollywood tape saga ahead of him.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 388252

Reported Deaths: 4781
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby49731687
Davidson44813429
Knox20269159
Rutherford18968169
Hamilton18210162
Williamson1209086
Sumner10566142
Out of TN900254
Wilson801684
Montgomery717286
Sullivan6979111
Washington6572116
Maury636472
Putnam614284
Blount608963
Bradley571637
Madison5602114
Sevier528735
Unassigned519025
Robertson404356
Tipton385839
Hamblen372462
Gibson339372
Greene335574
Dyer332652
Anderson323931
Coffee306043
Dickson305037
Carter298361
Bedford295734
Lawrence290237
McMinn281056
Obion278053
Cumberland272937
Roane255731
Warren251919
Jefferson245435
Loudon244320
Fayette236940
Monroe234146
Hardeman229538
Weakley227136
Franklin224538
Lauderdale213123
Hawkins213035
Wayne197610
Henderson195934
Trousdale192612
Macon190829
White188619
Rhea187836
Hardin186027
Carroll185336
Marshall185322
Lincoln177520
Cocke172030
Cheatham169617
Haywood168830
Campbell165324
Henry163321
Overton157736
Giles157649
Smith150920
Johnson147523
McNairy143734
Fentress126824
DeKalb124624
Hickman124619
Bledsoe12245
Lake11936
Marion118719
Crockett118428
Scott11737
Grainger108818
Chester106322
Decatur97413
Claiborne96410
Unicoi96026
Benton88016
Lewis81516
Cannon8104
Grundy80614
Morgan7996
Union7665
Humphreys7648
Jackson72510
Polk70915
Stewart63317
Houston60520
Sequatchie5845
Clay57119
Meigs52512
Perry50922
Moore4202
Pickett39814
Van Buren3872
Hancock1964

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