Enjoying his drive for division as he follows the former vice president with double digits in national polls, Trump sparked fears of clashes on the streets of Tulsa when he warned in a tweet on Friday that protesters would not tolerate police.
“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, robbers or humble people who go to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated as if you were in New York, Seattle or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!” he tweeted.
Health concerns in Tulsa abound
Trump, who claimed the virus was “fading” – in direct contrast to the facts – admitted that he and his advisers initially chose the Tulsa rally site in part because Oklahoma, a deep red state that has long voted Republican, appears to be have a lower incidence of coronavirus cases.
During a news conference Wednesday, Tulsa Health Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Tulsa set a new daily record in coronavirus cases this week.
“Let me be clear. Anyone planning to attend a large-scale gathering will face an increased risk of contracting Covid-19,” Dart said.
Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith expressed concern over the scene on the streets of Tulsa during an interview Friday on CNN’s “Situation Room.”
“No one wears masks, and you know people are coming, Wolf, from all over the state – so they can arrive from hot spots,” Keith told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, noting that the city expects an additional 40,000 to 60,000 people outside the arena. “We like to greet people in our city, but just since we’re at some speed … time is very tough.”
Trump’s campaign said it plans to conduct a temperature check and provide hand and mask disinfection to attendees, but none of them will be required to wear it.
“By participating in the Rally, you and all guests voluntarily assume all risks associated with COVID-19 exposure and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump as President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their associate members, the Director. , officers, employees, agents, contractors or volunteers responsible for any illness or injury, “the disclaimer states.
But this week he admitted that wearing masks has become a politically polarized issue. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said it is possible for some people to wear masks to show their disapproval.
Still, when asked by Wall Street Journal journalist Michael C. Bender if he was comfortable with his supporters wearing masks at a rally in Tulsa, Trump said, “Absolutely.”
“I can wear them or not. I want them to be happy,” he said.
The irony of Trump’s June 16 spotlight
And black-and-white leaders prayed for Trump to change the date.
For example, in Kansas, Democratic government Laura Kelly signed a proclamation on Friday declaring June 19 June 19 National Freedom Day. “Juneth is not just a day to celebrate the end of slavery,” Kelly said during a news conference on Friday. “It is an opportunity to recognize the conflicting history of the nation, to reflect on our struggle to achieve true freedom for all Americans, and to promise to continue to fight to stop systemic racism.”
Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said Thursday he would introduce legislation to make the day a federal holiday, as have several Democratic senators.
An interview with the Wall Street Journal this week quoted Trump as making him “very well known.”
“It’s actually an important event, time is important. But no one has heard of it,” he said in an interview. He added that one young African American Secret Service agent knew what was marking the day, but Trump said he had political people “who have no idea”.
During a news briefing on Friday, McEnany said Trump “wasn’t just learning about June this week. It’s just not true,” she said.
McEnany would not say whether the president plans to make June 16 a federal holiday.
CNN’s Kay Jones and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.