Symone Sanders, senior adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
Symone Sanders, senior adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, slammed into President Donald Trump’s Saturday return rally, saying it set a dangerous example amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanders on “Fox News Sunday” decried Trump’s statement during the Tulsa rally that he asked the administration to slow down coronavirus testing to contain optics of a growing outbreak. She also lambasted Trump for holding a rally in a confined, indoor space — creating conditions that health experts say are highly conducive to transmitting the disease.
“The most damning thing from that rally last night, Chris, was, in fact, the president’s admission that he quote unquote said to his people to slow down the testing,” Sanders told host Chris Wallace. “This is an appalling attempt to lessen the numbers only to make them look good.”
The White House subsequently told NBC News and Reuters that Trump was only joking with the remark. Sanders grimaced at the claim and appeared unconvinced.
Sanders also defended protesters who have flooded the streets of cities across the country in the weeks since the killing of George Floyd. Trump’s allies have been quick to criticize the protesters and their defenders for forming large gatherings, while the president’s supporters have been blasted for gathering for his Oklahoma rally.
Sanders said the protesters were exercising their rights as citizens to demand the end to police brutality, while saying that Trump was flouting his own administration’s health recommendations for political gains.
“There is no double standard here. Protesting is an American right,” Sanders said.
“The president has to lead,” Sanders said. “And President Trump has demonstrated so many times in every sense of the word that he is unable to do so.”
Sanders also pointed out the ways Biden has campaigned while respecting CDC guidelines for containing the spread of coronavirus. She cited interviews with local news media and virtual campaign events.
Trump’s rally Saturday was his first since taking a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.