Hundreds of guests seen attending Saturday’s White House event on the South Lawn, which will be President Trump’s first since testing positive for the novel coronavirus, had their travel and lodging paid for by controversial conservative activist Candace Owens’ group BLEXIT, according to emails obtained by ABC News.
Supporters were invited to attend a “HUGE outdoor rally” by the group and asked to fill out a form that notified them that BLEXIT, a campaign urging Black Americans to leave the Democratic Party, will be covering travel costs.
According to ABC News, the guests were later informed they would be receiving an invitation from the White House to attend an event with Trump.
(PS) The people *paid* to attend Trump's sad (and illegal) White House event are in the blue shirts, so… basically everyone. pic.twitter.com/D68RREJit5
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) October 10, 2020
In an email from Owens, attendees were told “EVERYONE MUST BRING A MASK TO BE ALLOWED ENTRY ONTO THE WHITE HOUSE GROUNDS.” and that “absolutely no exceptions” will be made.
Wearing a face mask will not be required, according to the news outlet.
When reached for comment, Owens told ABC News, “We are not interested in participating in your obvious media angle here to slander/attack the President regarding Covid-19.” She added that Saturday’s event “is about supporting law enforcement in minority communities.” It is not immediately clear how many of those set to attend the event had their travel costs covered.
Saturday marked two weeks since the super spreader event in the nearby Rose Garden, where Trump unveiled his nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, before an audience of VIPs, many of whom tested COVID-positive within days.
Trump spoke for about 17 minutes at Saturday’s event, a fraction of his typical 90-minute campaign rally stemwinder.
According to Annie Karni of the New York Times, “Trump spoke for 18 minutes, after officials said it would be 30 minutes. Unusual.”
And close-up photos showed flesh-tone bandages on the back of his right hand, presumably to cover bruising from intravenous injections.
President Trump takes his face mask off before delivering remarks from the White House balcony to speak to supporters for a campaign rally dubbed as a “peaceful protest”. (Reuters/Tom Brenner) pic.twitter.com/rSfBCzZFHF
— Tom Brenner (@tombrennerphoto) October 10, 2020