Former President Barack Obama cautioned Americans to stay safe over the Fourth of July holiday and ‘listen to the experts, not the folks trying to divide us’ in a subtle swipe at President Trump.
‘This holiday weekend, let’s be safe and smart. It’s going to take all of us to beat this virus. So wear a mask. Wash your hands,’ Obama also said in a Friday tweet. ‘That’s the only way we’ll do this – together.’
The ex-president’s comments come as Trump is about to headline back-to-back Fourth of July events expected to draw crowds in the thousands despite the uptick in coronavirus cases around the U.S.
President Obama cautioned Americans to stay safe and ‘listen to the experts, not the folks trying to advise us’ as he encouraged people to celebrate the Fourth of July safely amid a new spike in coronavirus cases
President Obama tweeted his recommendations on how to stay safe over the Fourth of July holiday and included a veiled swipe at President Trump, who is headlining two gatherings that are expected to draw crowds amid a pandemic
In several hours, Trump will fly to South Dakota to give a speech and take in a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.
The event will be capped at 7,500 people, but South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Monday on Fox News Channel that there ‘will not be social distancing.’
Event organizers will be handing out free masks, she said.
‘Every one of them has the opportunity to make a decision that they’re comfortable with,’ Noem told Fox’s Laura Ingraham, adding that state officials say the people of South Dakota should ‘focus on personal responsibility.’
On Saturday, Trump will host a scaled-back version of his ‘Salute to America’ Fourth of July event that he started last year on the Lincoln Memorial steps.
This year the event will be held on the White House South Lawn and, outside the White House gates, on the Ellipse, which is directly south of the presidential mansion.
President Trump is going ahead with two back-to-back Fourth of July celebrations that could bring crowds out in the thousands. He’ll travel to Mount Rushmore on Friday and then host a ‘Salute to America’ from the White House on Saturday
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will appear at Mount Rushmore National Memorial tonight to celebrate an early Fourth of July at a gathering of an estimated 7,500 people. No social distancing is planned for the event despite the record-high new coronavirus cases in the United States
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said people were told that if they had concerns, they could stay home. She added free face masks would be handed out to people if they choose to wear one, but social distancing is not a requirement
Members of the general public will have access to the National Mall to watch the flyovers associated with the president’s event and then the subsequent fireworks display.
The Department of the Interior said 30,000 masks would be on hand to give away and they’re putting up more than 100 hand-washing stations.
Still the event has attracted criticism for enticing crowds to come out.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who doesn’t have jurisdiction over the event because it’s held on federal property, said Wednesday that she had warned federal officials.
‘We know that this is a special event for the Department of the Interior,’ she said. ‘We communicated to them that we do not think that this is in keeping with the best [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and [D.C.] Department of Health guidance, but this event will take place entirely on the federal property.’
Bowser has encouraged D.C. residents to spend the Fourth of July at home this year to combat the spread of COVID-19.
She already cancelled a planned daytime Fourth of July parade.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, was asked about the Mount Rushmore event – and Fourth of July festivities – Wednesday and repeated the guidance that Americans should avoid crowds.
‘You should avoid whenever possible gathering in crowds where people cannot maintain physical distance,’ Fauci said.
‘Avoid crowds, wear a mask, keep physical distance,’ the doctor continued during an Instagram Q&A with former CNN White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. ‘It doesn’t matter what the reason for the congregation, whether it’s a celebration here, the demonstration there. It doesn’t make any difference – wear a mask.’
Instead of crowded gatherings, Obama pointed to a New York Times article that gave Americans socially distant ways to celebrate the Fourth.
The piece linked to a number of virtual fireworks shows taking place around the nation.
It also advised Americans take a virtual tour of national landmarks, watch a movie about the country’s founding – such as the musical ‘Hamilton,’ which was released on Disney-plus directly before the holiday – play games outside or cook American treats.
The president will again be hosting a ‘Salute to America’ event on July Fouth, complete with military flyovers, however this year’s scaled-back event will take place at the White House instead of the Lincoln Memorial. Pictured is last year’s event