President Donald Trump is not convinced Herman Cain caught the novel coronavirus while attending his presidential rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday (July 31), Trump rejected speculation that the Republican politician contracted the virus at the Tulsa event.
Cain was photographed not wearing a mask. He was hospitalized on July 2 for the coronavirus and died July 30. The former presidential candidate was 74 years old.
“No, I don’t think he did,” Trump said when asked if the 2012 GOP presidential candidate had caught the virus at his rally, The Hill reports.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted during a briefing on Friday that it is unclear where Cain contracted the disease, as he had been traveling frequently.
"I will not politicize Herman Cain’s passing, and I would just note the great contributions he’s made to our society. We’ll always remember him, and his legacy will stand,” McEnany said.
According to a statement posted to Cain’s Twitter account, Cain was hospitalized last month “after he had development symptoms serious enough that he required hospitalization." He subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
"We honestly have no idea where he contracted it. I realize people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of traveling the past week, including to Arizona where cases are spiking,” HermanCain.com editor Dan Calabrese wrote in a post.
“I don't think there's any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected. We'll never know.”
Following news of his death, Trump called the 74-year-old cancer survivor a "special man" and “great friend.”
“He did a fantastic job. He was respected by everybody, he was loved by everybody. And we will miss Herman Cain,” Trump said.
Trump’s Tulsa rally was held as public health officials warned people to avoid big gatherings. Ticket holders were required to sign waivers agreeing not to sue the campaign or organizers should they be exposed to COVID019.