President Donald Trump is set to return to Janesville on Saturday, two weeks after he was supposed to visit the city but didn’t because he was in the hospital with COVID-19, according to a fundraiser invitation.
In an email Monday, Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson said the U.S. Secret Service asked his office to assist with a Trump campaign event Saturday at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.
He said Monday afternoon the time is “still to be determined” and that his office has “few details at this point,” although he expects to learn more in the near future.
Meanwhile, Rock County’s health department on its dashboard said the positivity rate of new cases reported Monday was 83%, which is by far the highest it has been locally during the pandemic.
The invitation doesn’t give many details, but it asks guests to join a “VIP pre-speech reception and Make America Great Again event” with Trump in Janesville on Saturday.
The invitation says $15,000 gets someone a VIP reception, expedited entry, premier reserved seating and parking per couple.
Other options listed are $2,800 for the same with the difference being parking per person and not couple. For $1,000, the invitation says someone can get a VIP reception and expedited entry.
It’s not immediately clear if there will be an event free and open to the public. The Gazette has reached out to the campaign for more information but had not heard back as of Monday afternoon.
The White House doctor on Monday said Trump had tested negative for the new coronavirus on consecutive days.
Before Trump’s last visit to Janesville was canceled, Rock County officials urged him not to come because of health risks associated with holding a rally where the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
“Rock County is experiencing an unprecedented pandemic that threatens the health of our residents,” Rock County Board Chairwoman Kara Purviance said in a news release Oct. 1. “It is irresponsible of the president to hold a rally that will put Rock County citizens in danger of contracting and spreading the virus.”
On Monday, Rock County Administrator Josh Smith told The Gazette the county will not take the same approach in advance of this visit.
“Based on our previous conversations with the campaign and information we put out, we believe everyone is aware of the concerns we have about mass gatherings and the need to comply with public health guidance,” he said. “At this point, we’re encouraging all attendees to wear a mask, remain physically distant, sanitize. That’s really our approach at this point.”
He said he did not think going the same route—asking the president not to visit the area—would “result in any different outcomes.”
“We expect that people are going to make decisions that will keep themselves and others safe,” he said.
The president, who is 74, was hospitalized with COVID-19 for a few days.
Wisconsin is seen as one of the crucial battleground states in Trump’s reelection effort against Democrat Joe Biden.
The president’s son Eric Trump was scheduled to visit Milton on Monday afternoon.
The state is considered one of the worst in the country for virus spread.
In Rock County, there are 941 active COVID-19 cases, according to the county’s dashboard, last updated at 2:30 p.m. Monday. Rock County has seen 3,423 laboratory confirmed cases and 36 deaths during the pandemic.
Nearly 1,500 people have died from COVID-19 in the state.
This story was updated with information from the county’s health department at 4:07 p.m. Monday.