On Memorial Day, remembrances mix with new grief, and politics.
On a three-day weekend in a stay-home era, when gatherings posed risks and remembrances of the war dead vied with mourning for the nearly 100,000 Americans who had died of the virus, the politics of the pandemic burst into fresh view.
President Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery on Monday morning for a wreath-laying ceremony, then traveled to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where he spoke of the sacrifice of soldiers and described current service members as being “on the front lines of our war against this terrible virus.”
He and his wife, Jill Biden, both in black masks, laid a wreath at a veterans memorial in Delaware in an unannounced visit. “Thanks for your service,” Mr. Biden said, saluting a small group of veterans and other onlookers from a distance.
Mr. Biden, 77, and his campaign advisers have said that they intend to abide by the public safety recommendations that have, so far, made rallies and other campaign events impossible. They have indicated that they want to serve as role models who respect the science behind the guidance. To some Biden allies, it offers a chance for an implicit contrast with Mr. Trump, 73, who has pushed for quick reopenings of states, businesses and houses of worship and has resisted wearing masks.
On Monday evening, Mr. Trump retweeted a post by Brit Hume of Fox News that showed a photograph of Mr. Biden with his face covering and said, “This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public.”
The president tweeted that he had “LOVE” for North Carolina, a swing state that he won in 2016, but he added that without a “guarantee” from the governor, “we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space.”
Many states, sports teams and presenters have been trying to gauge when it will be safe for big crowds again; a growing number of concert promoters, theaters, orchestras and dance companies are already making plans to bypass their fall seasons because of virus fears.
Mr. Trump wrote that if Mr. Cooper did not provide an answer “immediately,” he would “be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”
Memorial Day crowds flocked to beaches, amusement parks, lakes and boardwalks on Monday, on the first long weekend since the pandemic began to tear through the United States, taking almost 100,000 lives.
For many, the day was an attempt to turn the page from the grim shutdowns of the past months to…
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