JANESVILLE – Thousands of Donald Trump fans, many of them without masks, filtered on an asphalt at the airport Saturday afternoon as they awaited a visit from the president amid soaring coronavirus cases across Wisconsin.

“This whole pandemic is a scam,” said Brandon Rice of Eau Claire, waiting in line at the southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville. “I think it was done to make him look bad. That’s fake news. “

Some participants in Trumps Saturday night wore masks, others did not, and some left them hanging by their chins, leaving their mouths and noses exposed.

Participants were given temperature control and provided masks if they did not have them. Signs at the gate asked people to wear masks.

“I refuse to wear a mask,” Rice said. When asked why, he said, “Because I’m not a sheep and I’m not scared. It’s their way of getting control of us.”

“Everyone has passed a temperature check, so I do not see a problem,” he added.

The event is the kind of gathering of state public health officials that warns against as Wisconsin struggles with overwhelmed hospitals – bringing thousands of people together in one place without requiring face masks or spacing.

But the demonstration is not without limits under the state’s emergency orders, and Trump is a little more than two weeks away from the day he needs Wisconsin voters to return the state to its column as he lags behind Democratic opponent Joe Biden in state sentiment.

Attendees were confident Trump would defy the November 3 polls, as he did in 2016 when he narrowly won Wisconsin.

“I think Trump will win because God has a hand in this and God will not let us go socialist,” said Connie Chaney of Sterling, Ill.

Like rice, she chose not to wear face clothing and said “I’m not a mask person.”

“I think it’s nothing but the flu,” Chaney said of COVID-19. “I’m not scared and I’m not stopping living my life because of this.”

The event is being held a day after Wisconsin published a record for most coronavirus cases in one day – 3,861. The number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 has tripled in Wisconsin in the last month, and nearly 1,600 people in the state have died from it.

Prior to the visit, Biden accused Trump of “deliberately downplaying the severity of the pandemic.”

“Wisconsin is in one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country,” Biden said in a statement. “Jill and I pray for the health of those who have been infected with the virus, and for the families who are grieving the loss of a loved one. We have lost far too many lives because of this pandemic – and the sad fact is that the needy not to be like that. “

Those who gathered for the event at. 18, had to park miles away and take school buses to the airport – another health risk during a pandemic due to the tight neighborhoods.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, who recently came out of quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, said he generally does not wear a mask when outdoors. He said the stiff wind would help prevent infections.

“I do not think this is particularly dangerous at all,” the Oshkosh Republican told reporters as people streamed into the event and the Village People’s “YMCA” blew over the speakers.

Rock County Administrator Josh Smith, who oversees the airport, said the county requires everyone in the Rock County facilities to wear masks.

“That said, the event takes place in a privately leased hangar, which gives the owner rights to hold events,” Smith said via email. “We expect both local and state requirements to be followed, and are confident that the campaign is aware of these requirements.”

Smith said Rock County officials have expressed “concern about mass gatherings and the need to comply with public health guidelines.”

“We need to put our trust in the decisions that individuals make to protect themselves and others,” he said in his email.

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Prior to the event, the Democratic government Tony Evers was less optimistic that it would adhere to guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

He said Thursday in a media briefing that Trump “encourages a super-spreading event.”

Track COVID-19 in Wisconsin: See the latest figures and trends

Evers said Trump could demand that participants wear masks or be rejected.

“They are reluctant to do so,” he said of the campaign.

RELATED: Joe Biden hits Donald Trump on COVID-19 reaction ahead of President Janesville’s rally

Brian Belt of Pewaukee noted the windy conditions Saturday and said it would limit the chances of people getting infected at the outdoor event. He was not wearing a mask as he waited to enter.

“I have one with me if I feel the need to put one on,” he said.

Asked what he likes about Trump, Belt said: “It’s a difficult question? Do you have all day? ”

He said Trump had done a good job with the economy before COVID-19 hit the country, had responded well to the virus, had helped ease tensions in the Middle East and made life better for the middle class.

“He is for the people,” Belt said.

As the crowd gathered in Janesville, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren accused Madison of delivering a scathing resignation of Trump as she tried to give Democrats energy to go to the polls for Biden.

From economics to racial justice to the coronavirus pandemic, the Massachusetts senator and one-time presidential candidate lit up Trump and his policies during an afternoon drive in car meeting.

“We are eight months in (for the pandemic) and the Trump administration still has no plan to deal with this crisis. People continue to die hundreds a day. On November 3, we hold Donald Trump accountable,” Warren said as participants. blistering horns.

Warren, who wore a mask during his speech, is due to transfer to a Milwaukee collection later Saturday.

Trump’s visit comes after the president canceled a planned one at the same venue on Oct. 3 as part of a double-headed event with another rally in Green Bay. The meetings were canceled after Trump reported that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

After the diagnosis, Trump’s doctor issued conflicting statements about when the president tested positive, raising questions about when Trump’s campaign ended the two rallies in Wisconsin.

White House doctor Sean Conley told reporters at a news conference Oct. 3 outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Trump was “72 hours into diagnosis now,” which would mean the positive result was known before Trumps campaign completed the plans for events.

But the timeline remains unclear after an anonymous White House official contradicted Conley’s statement, saying Conley meant to say it was day 3, not 72 hours before – suggesting the diagnosis was made after Wisconsin the plans were made. Conley later issued his own clarification.

The meetings ended despite the White House knowing that Trump’s aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive.

Hours before Trump’s announcement, he faced the withdrawal of city and county officials in three areas of Wisconsin, where his campaign pushed forward demonstrations despite rising coronavirus cases in the state – prompting the mayor of La Crosse to ask Trump to cancel a scheduled meeting there

Contact Molly Beck at Follow her on Twitter at @MollyBeck.

Contact Patrick Marley at Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.

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