Herman Cain Dead From Coronavirus Complications After Attending Trump's Rally, Criticizing Mask Mandates

Herman Cain Dead From Coronavirus Complications After Attending Trump's Rally, Criticizing Mask Mandates
Image: Daniel Boczarski (Getty Images)

Businessman and former Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain, died Thursday following complications from covid-19. He was 74.

Cain tested positive for the virus on June 29 and spent most of July hospitalized. On Monday, Cain’s Twitter account was updated to offer the latest on his status.

“[Cain] is still in the hospital being treated with oxygen for his lungs,” the tweet read. “In the meantime, the doctors say his other organs and systems are strong.”

Two following tweets explained that “re-strengthening the lungs is a long and slow process” but that “he really is getting better.”

While the exact circumstances under which Cain contracted covid-19 are unknown, Cain was diagnosed following his attendance at President Trump’s comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. He was there representing Black Voices for Trump, an arm of the Trump re-election campaign aimed at increasing black support for President Trump. Cain served on the board as its co-chair.

Neither Cain nor a majority of the rally attendees wore masks at the Tulsa rally, which was particularly unfortunate since Tulsa experienced a major covid-19 spike in the weeks following the event.

But Cain was not in favor of wearing a mask anyway. On the same day of his hospitalization, Cain praised South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for not requiring masks or social distancing for Trump’s July 3 visit to Mount Rushmore. Cain tweeted, “Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. “PEOPLE ARE FED UP!” The tweet has since been deleted.

Cain long touted his rags to riches story: from poor son of a cleaning woman and a janitor to a multiple degree-holding businessmen. He was the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and later became the CEO of the National Restaurant Association, a powerful restaurant lobbying organization. In the ‘90s he was the chairman of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He also served on the board of directors of Nabisco and Whirlpool.

Cain achieved great financial success, but his political achievements were spotty.

A staunch Republican, Cain became a household name in May 2011 when he announced that he was running for president. He received positive coverage and support from conservatives and Tea Party activists, but the early buzz floundered after accusations of sexual misconduct arose. Cain denied the allegations  but suspended his campaign in December 2011.

In the years since, Cain maintained his status as an advisor and commentator. In 2019, President Trump considered nominating Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Cain eventually withdrew himself from the nomination process: Cain said it was because he would be taking a big pay cut. The fact that a handful of Republican senators opposed his nomination, making his appointment unlikely, was, perhaps, a bigger factor.

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