(CNN) — President Donald Trump is spending the evening before Independence Day in the shadow of Mount Rushmore.
Thousands of supporters will join him in a gathering where social distancing will not be possible and where face masks are voluntary.
Today, as the U.S. sees the highest single day of new coronavirus cases, President Trump hits the links before heading to Mount Rushmore to watch fireworks with an expected 7,500 people.
Despite the President’s 180, he is now insisting he supports masks.
“That includes face coverings, social distancing, testing and personal hygiene – wash your hands,” Trump said.
The crowd in South Dakota is getting a different message.
“Those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing,” said Gov. Kristi Noem (R), South Dakota.
Many are questioning why the event is necessary.
“We’re proud of the fact that the president is coming to South Dakota to help us celebrate the Fourth of July and our Independence Day, but the terms and circumstances under which he’s appearing basically are turning out to be a dud,” said. Randy Seiler, chair of the South Dakota Democratic party
All, as the nation’s top health officials say…
“Larger gatherings are a higher risk. You have to take that into account again whether or not you’re at risk whether or not you live with someone who is vulnerable,” Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.
The trip is coming as fallout from Trump’s Oklahoma rally grows.
Former 2012 presidential candidate and Trump supporter Herman Cain is now hospitalized with COVID-19 after attending that rally – and not wearing a mask.
Also word that campaign staffers and secret service agents continue to test positive for the virus.
Now, CNN is learning eight secret service agents assigned to Vice President Pence’s detail tested positive for the virus just before he was scheduled to travel to Arizona on Tuesday.
Pence ended up traveling there Wednesday, after COVID-positive agents were swapped out.
“I’m all for masks,” Trump said.
Inside the White House, officials are debating whether the administration should take more of a leadership role and urge mask wearing nationwide. But the one person they need to convince doesn’t sound like he’s really buying the argument.
“If i’m in a group of people where we’re not 10 feet away — but usually I’m not in that position and everyone’s tested,” Trump said.
The president is expected to speak on issues of race and the movement to take down controversial statues. A campaign aide says he’ll blame “the left-wing mob for tearing down history and dividing the country.”
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