Speed Reads

ride in the COVID-mobile

Inside the campaign staff COVID outbreak at Trump's infamous Tulsa rally

As with plenty of former President Donald Trump-related revelations, it turns out his infamous June 2020 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — the one that was woefully underattended — may have been more of a train wreck than originally thought, according to an excerpt of journalist Jonathan Karl's forthcoming book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show published in Vanity Fair.

When multiple campaign staffers, who had partied together the night before, tested positive for COVID-19 the day of the rally, campaign leadership actually ordered the team to "STOP TESTING," Karl reveals. The directive arrived following an "embarassing" NBC News headline that broke the news of the staff infections. And Trump, for his part, was "furious."

And that's not all. "Incredibly," Karl writes, the former president's infected staffers were then told to rent a car and drive over 1,200 miles back to Washington, rather than self-isolate for 10 days, as required by public health guidelines. "At least one" of those rental cars was stuffed with COVID-positive team members, Karl says.

"There was a car of three staffers who had tested positive that drove all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Washington, D.C.," one senior adviser told him. "We called it a COVID-mobile."

Two Secret Service agents had also tested positive, forcing dozens of others to quarantine as a precaution. What's more, in a revelation never disclosed by Trump or his team, one infected campaign staffer was actually hospitalized in Tulsa for a week after becoming "severely ill," says Karl.

"It was really scary," said a senior campaign official of the incident. "He was actually worried he was going to die." Read more at Vanity Fair.