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AR Gov: I Would've 'Liked To See More' Masks At Trump's SD Event But It's A 'Controlled Environment'

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When Hutchinson — who signed an executive order that allows cities to mandate masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 on Friday — was pressed on President Trump’s refusal to wear a mask in public and holding large gatherings over the weekend, the Arkansas governor first pointed out that events in his state that were originally scheduled this weekend were canceled. Hutchinson then argued that he thinks “it is good that we celebrate our independence.”

Hutchinson said that Trump’s Fourth of July event in South Dakota was held in “a controlled environment” before adding that he “would have liked to have seen more face coverings there in order to set an example.”

However, Hutchinson noted that there is “virus fatigue” in the country.

“And you have to live life, you can’t stop every activity, but you have to be in a controlled environment in which you do protect yourself and others and take it seriously,” Hutchinson said. “So there’s this balance of reflecting to America how serious this is and the big fight that we’re in, but at the same time let’s manage our way through this so that we can continue to live life even though we’re all very, very tired of this virus.”

When pressed on the lack of social distancing and the thousands of people at Trump’s South Dakota event, Hutchinson reiterated that “there should have been face coverings” but that it was a “controlled environment.”

“They should have followed guidelines there. You know, I know that it’s a controlled environment, so it’s really more about setting example,” Hutchinson said. “But, I know how important this was to (South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem). She’s been asking the President about this months ago. This was not something that was set up at the last minute, it was planned, and it was a controlled environment.”

When asked about what his response would be if Trump wanted to hold a rally in Arkansas, in light of Secret Service agents and other members of his advance contracting the coronavirus, Hutchinson replied that “there would have to be social distancing and wearing of masks if you can’t social distance.”

“You have to follow our guidelines and that’s what we would insist upon,” Hutchinson said.

Watch Hutchinson’s remarks below:

About The Author

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Summer Concepcion is the front page editor of Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Previously, she covered the 2016 presidential election for Fusion and worked as a researcher at The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. She's an LA native and former Chicago transplant. Reach her at summer@talkingpointsmemo.com