The White House announced Wednesday night that President Donald Trump would visit Fort McHenry on Memorial Day. Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Thursday that the trip would set a bad example.
Baltimore City remains under a local stay-at-home order amid the Coronavirus crisis. Residents are supposed to stay put unless leaving for an essential reason like medical care or grocery shopping.
“That President Trump is deciding to pursue nonessential travel sends the wrong message to our residents, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus,” Young said in a statement. “I wish that the president, as our nation’s leader, would set a positive example and not travel during this holiday weekend.”
Young said the visit would also burden city personnel and equipment.
“I would hope that the president would change his mind and decide to remain at home. If he decides, however, to move forward with his scheduled trip to Baltimore we will, of course, be prepared for his visit.”
The White House says the president and first lady will participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at the site on Monday “to honor the American heroes who have sacrificed their lives serving in the US Armed Forces.
“The hoisting of the American flag after the fort defended Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812 inspired the poem that came to be known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
A spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan said state officials were “honored” the president and first lady planned to spend Memorial Day at Fort McHenry. The governor, however, will not be in attendance. He will be celebrating his birthday Monday at home with his family.
Trump has sought to ramp up his travel schedule as he looks to demonstrate that the nation is “reopening” after economically devastating shutdowns were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. The virus has infected more than 1.5 million Americans and cost more than 92,000 U.S. lives.