A three-day Trump campaign bus tour complete with rallies across the state concluded Wednesday — sparking the interest of hundreds who showed up to some of the events and concern from Democrats and others who criticized Republicans for not adhering to a public health order limiting gatherings and requiring people to wear masks in public.
The Women for Trump bus tour finished in Northern New Mexico on Wednesday after hitting a variety of cities in the southern and central parts of the state. At each event, photos from the Republican Party of New Mexico depict dozens — sometimes hundreds — of people packed tightly together without masks on.
In one picture, dozens of people are crammed inside an office identified as the Hispanics for Trump Community Center in Albuquerque. Almost no one appears to be wearing a mask.
State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce said the events in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho likely drew more than 200, and a rally in Española likely drew more than 100.
Pearce said the rallies are part of a concerted effort from the Trump reelection campaign and the state Republican Party to turn New Mexico red in the upcoming presidential election.
The events immediately drew the condemnation of New Mexico Democratic Party Chairwoman Marg Elliston, who said they risked spreading the coronavirus.
“It is irresponsible and dangerous for the New Mexico GOP to hold these kinds of events without encouraging masks and social distancing,” Elliston said in a statement, adding Republicans are “encouraging behavior that could lead to another deadly spike in COVID-19 cases.”
Pearce responded to the criticism by saying Democrats have destroyed the state economy with measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 and are attempting to divert attention from a lackluster effort to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in New Mexico.
Pearce claimed 50 Trump staffers have knocked on some 300,000 doors across the state in an effort to boost the president’s campaign. He stated erroneously in an interview Wednesday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance last week instructing Americans to no longer social distance or wear masks.
The CDC continues to recommend avoiding close contact with others and wearing a face mask as two of the best ways to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The federal agency updated its mask guidance several weeks ago to urge people to stop wearing masks with valves, vents or face shields in lieu of cloth coverings or surgical masks because the former can still spread the virus to others.
“The CDC has said that we don’t have to social distance, don’t have to wear a mask anymore,” Pearce said. “They’re trying to keep people indoors, keep them afraid. They’re trying to win this election by not doing a damn thing. So, yeah, they’re gonna criticize us because we’re working our butts off.”