Ahead of President Donald Trump’s announced Memorial Day visit to Fort McHenry National Park, Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young is urging the president to stay home.
“That President Trump is deciding to pursue non-essential 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.
Media outlets reported Wednesday that the president and first lady Melania Trump will be celebrating the holiday at the birthplace of the country’s National Anthem and War of 1812 battle site.
Young said that the president’s decision to visit models the wrong behavior for Baltimoreans, pointing to Baltimore’s extended stay-at-home order.
“We have worked closely with our health professionals to educate the public about the benefits of social distancing and staying home, unless leaving for an essential reason, like visiting a doctor or picking up groceries,” he said.
“I wish that the President, as our nation’s leader, would set a positive example and not travel during this holiday weekend. “
Young also noted the city’s massive revenue loss — up to $20 million a month — since the virus advanced on the state in March. The mayor said that further costs to Baltimore that a presidential visit entails has “a price tag that our City … simply can’t afford to shoulder.”
“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.”
Should Trump follow through as planned, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan will not attend the president’s visit, which coincides with Hogan’s 64th Birthday.
“We are honored that the president and the first lady have chosen to spend Memorial Day at Fort McHenry,” Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said in a statement. “Although Marylanders are encouraged not to gather in large numbers this year – now more than ever – it’s important to reflect on the American heroes who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Monday is the governor’s birthday, and he has plans to mark the day at home with his family.”