As part of the security plan of the BOK Center for the rally on June 20, the arena management bought 12,000 stickers without seating with the intention of separating people, leaving open seats among the participants, reports the Post Office.
Then on the day of the rally, when event workers had already placed stickers on almost every other spot in the 19,000-seat arena, Trump’s campaign said event management would stop and then began removing stickers, a person familiar with the Washington Post said. spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump’s campaign, did not address the label removal incident, but warned of health measures taken for the event in a statement to CNN.
“The rally was fully in line with local requirements. In addition, each rally participant had a temperature check before admission, was given a face mask and provided wide access to hand sanitizer,” Murtaugh said on Saturday.
According to an announcement to reporters from the pool, the stickers were removed in the arena ahead of the event, who noticed that stickers that had once appeared on the seats hours before were almost all gone by mid-afternoon on Saturday. According to pool reports, the stickers were removed before the public entered the arena.
Meanwhile, in one video given to the Post Office, two men, one in a suit, one in a badge and face mask, can be seen pulling stickers from a seat in part of the arena. The identities of the men are unclear.
After most of the stickers were affixed, a member of Trump’s campaign worked staff in a war room where the arena management monitored preparations and told them to stop, according to a person familiar with the event who spoke to the Post Office. Event staff were told to continue applying the stickers. Later, the campaign began to withdraw them, the person said.
By the time Trump took the stage in the arena, it was seen that the participants were not adhering to the guidelines for social distancing, but that they were grouped without empty seats. No stickers can be seen on the seats either.
A group of local lawyers, in the days leading up to the rally, complained that the event did not happen unless organizers agreed to take steps to adhere to the administration’s own recommendations on social distancing to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Lawyers in their lawsuit pointed out that statistics from the Tulsa health department show that the largest new number of coronavirus cases was recorded on Monday, which led to the planned rally on Saturday.
Neither Trump nor the White House have asked for the stickers to be removed, a senior White House official told the Washington Post.
CNN’s DJ Judd and Ryan Nobles contributed to this story.