Tulsa rally: Trump tests fate during a pandemic while threatening protesters

Trump is seeking to divert public attention from his particularly difficult week, which included a series of unprecedented bombs discovered in a new book by his former national security adviser John Bolton, who described Trump as unfit for the White House, and two failures of his administration. on LGBTQ rights and immigration in the Supreme Court. Late Friday night, Trump’s attorney general tried to overthrow a powerful U.S. attorney who was investigating a number of the president’s associates, but a Manhattan prosecutor refused to step down.
The president hopes to demonstrate that vigor and determination as America faces a pandemic, economic downturn, and violent demonstrations against racism, as it throws its rival Joe Biden as an old political relic whose supporters lack enthusiasm for his candidacy. A Trump campaign spokesman told CNN this week that the rally would signal to the rest of the country “that it’s time to get things back on track.”
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But by gathering his supporters in the Tulsa Bank of Oklahoma Center arena – an enclosed space of 19,000 people – the president is zealously fulfilling almost every one of the principles that people at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have gathered, such as CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta she remarked on Friday.
Trump has long shown contempt for science, reason, and expert advice, especially if it conflicts with his political goals. Even as he commanded the highest office in the country, he skillfully conveyed his image of an outsider acting from within in the eyes of his loyal base.

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.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany insisted later Friday that the president meant “violent protesters, anarchists, robbers,” although it was the administration that was under surveillance for using force to suppress peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square.

Health concerns in Tulsa abound

The president’s ardent supporters have been lying in Tulsa for days, hoping to be among the first participants in his rally, while public health officials worry that the rally could lead to the rapid spread of Covid-19 in a state that is already on the rise.

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.

But that has changed in recent weeks. A CNN analysis of coronavirus data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the number of new cases of Covid-19 is increasing daily – and Tulsa is an area of ​​particular concern.

During a news conference Wednesday, Tulsa Health Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Tulsa set a new daily record in coronavirus cases this week.

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“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.

When registering for the events, the participants in the rally were asked to agree to the statement that “the inherent risk of Covid-19 exposure exists in any public place where people are present.”

“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.

The politically charged debate on masks has made the risks of attending the rally even more dangerous. Trump has never worn a mask in public, and people around him at the White House are often tested, giving him an extra measure of security.

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.

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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

The president has decided to give up the possibility of getting involved in the nation’s debate on systemic racism in the United States – instead demanding “law and order” and issuing split tweets like his Friday mission to put protesters in the same category as “anarchists, agitators, robbers or weaknesses.” On Thursday night, he created a separate controversy by tweeting a doctoral viral video that Twitter labeled as a “manipulated medium” and later removed.
Yet anger over his initial decision to hold a rally in Tulsa on June 19 ironically seems to have led to far greater national recognition on the day marking the end of slavery. Amid national protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Trump postponed the rally to what he described as a gesture of respect for Juneth.

And black-and-white leaders prayed for Trump to change the date.

This week, governors in more than half a dozen states, including Louisiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Nevada and Vermont, are taking action to mark June 19th.

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.”

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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.

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