‘It affects the elderly. That’s it’: Trump makes outlandish coronavirus claims as supporters boo masks at Ohio rally

‘I get it, you don’t like it,' Lt. Gov. Jon Husted conceded after Trump supporters loudly booed him

Madeline Roth
Tuesday 22 September 2020 03:47 BST
Donald Trump says the young have a "hell of an immune system" and incites schools to open

Donald Trump made incorrect and outlandish claims about Covid-19 at an Ohio rally on Monday night. 

The president told the tightly-packed crowd at Toledo airport to ‘take their hats off’ to the immune system of young people. 

He added: “Now we know it affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects. That’s it. In some states nobody young. They have a strong immune system - who knows. Take your hat off to the young because they have a hell of an immune system. It affects virtually no one. Open your schools”.

That claim that has been thoroughly debunked but still hundreds of supporters tightly packed in to hear the president’s speech whistled and cheered.  

At an earlier event, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was loudly booed when he tried to encourage mask-wearing as an act of patriotism.

Speaking to hundreds of attendees in Dayton, Ohio, shortly before Trump took the stage, Husted was attempting to show off various face masks with "MAGA" and "Trump 2020" emblazoned on them.

"Hang on, I get it, you don't like it," Husted said as the crowd began voicing their disapproval. "But if you go into a grocery store where you gotta wear one... Just listen up!

"All right, I get it. But if somebody tells you to take it off, you can at least say that you're trying to save the country by wearing one of President Donald Trump's masks, right?", he eventually said, though the crowd didn't seem enthused by his message. The boos continued while one attendee could be heard in a video shouting, "Not gonna work!"

Husted, a former Republican Ohio House speaker, drew more boos when he mentioned that he and Gov. Mike DeWine are co-chairs of the Trump reelection campaign in Ohio. DeWine's administration has imposed statewide mask mandates — one of several Covid-19 precautions that don't sit well with many Trump supporters.

After DeWine's name similarly elicited boos at Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Ohio last week, the Republican governor acknowledged that some of his recent decisions have been criticized by conservative voters.

"Look, we're making tough decisions," DeWine said at a news conference. "We understand that this is a tough time. We have some people who are unemployed. We have people who don't want to wear a mask. And a lot of different things. I'm going to keep focusing on what I need to do. I think that's my job. I think that's what people elected me to do, and I'm going to keep doing that."

At one point during Monday's rally, the crowd reportedly broke into a chant of "Open up," apparently referring to DeWine's business restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. Husted said to the crowd, "I'm for it."

Trump, meanwhile, complimented DeWine when he took the stage after Husted.

"We're joined today by a real good friend of mine, somebody that's been with me from the beginning and I've been with him from the beginning: Ohio governor Mike DeWine," he said. After he was subsequently met by a mix of cheers and boos, Trump replied, "He's opening up."

Husted later tweeted about the rally, ignoring the crowd's negative reception and instead vowing to support Trump's so-called "pro-American business" policies.

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