On Thursday evening, Donald Trump held yet another rally, this time in Freeland, Michigan. And naturally, while he used his time productively—at one point he comparing himself to Winston Churchill and claiming that Biden “will destroy your protections for pre-existing conditions,” seemingly forgetting that he himself is the one who has tried very hard to destroy the Affordable Care Act—his campaign also made time to kick out a New York Times reporter from the rally after she tweeted out photos of the maskless crowd.
As former Detroit Free Press and now New York Times reporter Kathy Gray shared on Twitter, she was hustled out of the rally shortly after she posted photos of the crowd on Twitter.
Gray had noted that not many of the people in attendance were wearing masks, despite being crammed together and standing close to one another for what would likely be hours. While the rally was held outdoors, do I even need to remind you that CDC guidelines recommend that we all wear masks in public settings, especially when it’s difficult to social distance?
In another tweet, Gray had noted, “Maybe 10% have masks.”
Was she kicked out over her photos? Gray technically did not have media credentials to cover the rally as a member of the press—as she told Bridge Michigan, she had missed the deadline to get credentials by one day, and the Trump campaign ignored her subsequent requests to obtain one. (I imagine they felt an unholy amount of delight in giving a big, “Fuck you” to the Times!) But they sure noticed her real quick after her photos appeared on Twitter. “I had done some interviews and was standing off to the side of the tarmac,” she said. “They tracked me down from the photos I had taken and tweeted, came over and kicked me out.”
“They said because I was using my work Twitter account and since I didn’t have media credentials I couldn’t be working there, and I had to leave,” Gray told Bridge Michigan.
As the Detroit Free Press noted, people are required to wear a mask in Michigan when outdoors and it’s not possible to maintain at least six feet of distance; violators could potentially be fined up to $500. Notably, Trump himself did not wear a mask at his rally, which “puzzled” and “disheartened” Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, who was interviewed by CNN’s Sanjay Gupta on Thursday night. “It just deeply puzzles me, Sanjay. How did we get here?” Collins asked.