The decision to cancel the events comes after Florida and Arizona reached a new daily record for Covid-19 cases, prompting officials from both states to stop, and even reverse, their reopening plans. Florida reported 9,585 new infections on Saturday, while Arizona reported 3,591, according to state public health departments.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott mobilized on Friday to control the surge in cases in their states by closing bars. Texas also imposed new restrictions on other businesses that the governor said were related to the resurgence of the virus.
Pence led the return of the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, defending the Trump campaign’s decision to hold events in person during a pandemic by invoking First Amendment free speech guarantees.
“We have an upcoming election this fall,” said Pence. “President Trump and I believe that by taking the appropriate steps, as we have created assessments at recent events and giving people the best advice we have, we still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process, and we respect that.”