MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers has a message for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their visits to Wisconsin next week: Bring a mask.
“My expectation is they’re masking up,” the Democratic governor told reporters Thursday.
The Republican president plans to visit Oshkosh on Monday to show Wisconsinites he isn’t afraid to campaign in person as Democrats convene a mostly virtual national convention in Milwaukee.
Pence is slated to come to the state Wednesday, the same day Kamala Harris will give her convention speech as presumptive nominee Joe Biden’s running mate.
The Trump campaign also plans a “Women for Trump” event in Wisconsin ahead of the convention, which Democrats scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If President Trump and Vice President Pence and the women for Trump and whoever else from the Republican side is coming to Wisconsin next week, they have to wear masks if they’re in buildings,” Evers said.
“They have to make sure that their audience is physically distant from each other. We can’t afford to have these events making it more difficult for us to prevent the virus from being transmitted in the state of Wisconsin.”
Evers two weeks ago issued a statewide mask requirement.
The Marquette University Law School this week released a poll that found 69% of Wisconsin voters support mask requirements, but Republicans who control the Legislature have said they may eliminate Evers’ mask order. So far, they have not been able to muster the votes to do so.
The governor said he believed the mask requirement has been effective and encouraged people to wear masks regardless of their political views — and noted Trump has recently promoted the idea.
“It’s not political. It’s science,” Evers said. “We have a president saying we should wear masks. I hope he does when he comes to Wisconsin next week. And so if you want to follow an ideology, you have plenty of people who are in leadership positions in the federal government that are telling us, ‘Wear a freaking mask.’ ”
Evers will kick off Wednesday night’s program at the convention. He said he’s been assured the few people who are allowed into the Wisconsin Center will be wearing masks and the venue will be safe.
“I feel comfortable with that opportunity,” Evers said.
Contact Patrick Marley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.