Former President Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump said Sunday she was “disturbed” that her callous uncle was allowed to spew his lies at a vast, maskless rally in Alabama, which has run out of ICU beds as the state grapples with soaring cases of COVID-19.
During an interview on MSNBC with Alex Witt, she said the former president was “willing to hold a rally not only in the middle of COVID, but in the middle of a state that is being absolutely pummeled by the coronavirus, and in a state that, as far as I last checked, had no ICU beds left.”
The dangerous gathering “speaks to his bottomless need for attention, his complete willingness to put other people at risk to feed his narcissistic needs,” she said.
“These aren’t just people going to a rally; these are people who are being asked to put themselves and other people at risk in order to attend his rallies,” she noted. “I don’t believe there were any masks in the crowd.”
Beyond that, she asked: “Where are the adults who were saying, ‘No, we cannot allow this to happen?’ This happens in the Republican Party a lot,” she added.
Mary Trump accused the GOP, as it did with the Tea Party faction, of “pander[ing] to the most extreme elements … thinking that they control them, and then they see that they lose control.” For example, she noted that the crowd in Cullman, Alabama, booed Trump when he uncharacteristically urged his fans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The former president quickly backed down, kowtowing to the crowd: ”That’s okay, that’s all right. You got your freedoms.”
He also dismissed the risk of COVID-19 at the rally. “I’m shaking hands with everybody backstage. I say, ’Well, I don’t know, is this a good thing or bad?’” he asked dismissively.
Trump on the delta variant: "I'm shaking hands with everybody backstage. I say, well, I don't know, is this a good thing or bad? You'll read about it three or four days, maybe. Hopefully not." pic.twitter.com/ElCohCrgBx
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 22, 2021
Cullman declared a state of emergency the day before the rally due to COVID-19, and health officials feared the Trump rally could easily be a superspreader event on top of an earlier concert at the same location.
“We are absolutely shivering in our boots. We have great concern,” Judy Smith, administrator of the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Northern District, told AL.com just days before the rally.
Last year, researchers concluded that 18 of Trump’s political rallies led to more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases and 700 deaths.
The state is experiencing soaring numbers of cases, including nearly 4,000 new cases on Thursday alone. A record number of children were hospitalized with the illness — 50 — that day, with nine supported by ventilators in a single day recently. The number of children in the state testing positive for COVID-19 is four times higher than a year ago, according to the Alabama Political Reporter.
Alabama has counted 663,000 cases since 2020, and 12,000 deaths, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The hospital system is overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and was short 26 ICU beds on Friday, the Alabama Hospital Association reported. Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation, with just 36% of residents fully inoculated.
Witt asked Mary Trump if the recovery from the pandemic would be quicker if people ignored the former president.
“I wish we could,” she responded. “It’s not because of him. He lost the election, decisively, he was twice impeached, he should be irrelevant … The problem is that elected Republicans, Republican leadership, continue to allow him to be relevant, they continue to allow him a platform, they continue to give him power by going down to Mar-a-Lago and kissing his ring, by asking for his endorsements.”
Check out Mary Trump’s full interview in the video clip up top.