President Donald J. Trump speaks during a “Make America Great Again!” rally at the BOK Center on Saturday, June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, OK. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Many Trump staffers blamed themselves for Herman Cain’s death from COVID-19, according to a new book.
Cain attended Trump’s rally in Tulsa last year and tested positive for the virus days after.
“We killed Herman Cain,” one senior Trump staffer reportedly said after his death.
When news hit that former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died of COVID-19 a month after he attended then-President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last summer, many of the president’s campaign staffers blamed themselves for his death, according to a new book.
“We killed Herman Cain,” one senior Trump staffer reportedly told ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who also attended the Tulsa event on June 20, 2020.
That’s according to an excerpt of ABC News’ chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl’s forthcoming book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” published in Vanity Fair on Thursday. The book is slated to come out on November 16.
The Trump campaign flew in Cain, a prominent Republican who co-chaired the coalition Black Voices for Trump, to attend the Tulsa rally last year, according to the book. He, along with many other attendees, were photographed at the indoor event without masks.
Trump’s team spent months organizing the rally, which was billed as the president’s comeback to the campaign trail since the start of the pandemic. Trump was “convinced” that getting back on the road would boost his low public approval ratings caused by the pandemic and his response to the outbreak, per the book.
Local public health officials warned that the large indoor rally could turn into a superspreader event as the pandemic still raged in Oklahoma, but Trump, fixated on his 2020 reelection, ignored the warnings. Soon, news broke that six Trump campaign staffers in Tulsa tested positive for the virus. The actual number was eight staffers, according to the book.
The event did not draw the massive crowd size that Trump expected, but still, photographs show that public safety measures like social-distancing and mask-wearing were minimal.
Nine days after the event, Cain tested positive for COVID-19. Two days later, he was hospitalized. He died due to complications with the virus on July 30, 2020, at age 74.
It’s unknown whether Cain contracted the virus at the event, but that didn’t stop Trump staffers, who were “devastated” by the news of his death, from blaming themselves for it, according to the book.
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