President Trump tweeted Monday that he will ignore efforts to “shame” him into cancelling a Saturday campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, arguing people had no “problem” with recent mass protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police.
Trump hasn’t hosted a rally since March 2 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Tulsa gathering is set to begin a grand return of the spectacles, which Trump sees as an essential re-election tool.
“The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!” Trump tweeted.
In a separate tweet, Trump wrote Monday that “Almost One Million people request tickets for the Saturday Night Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma!”
Trump originally planned the rally for Friday, but moved it to Saturday, he said, after black leaders expressed concern about hosting the event on “Juneteenth,” which is celebrated as the day that marks the emancipation of black slaves at the end of the Civil War.
The rally in deeply Republican Oklahoma — set to occur inside the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Center — is facing some local headwinds.
The Tulsa World newspaper’s editorial board came out against the visit, writing on Monday that “we don’t know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city.”
Tulsa’s city health director Dr. Bruce Dart said “it’s an honor” for Trump to visit, ” but not during a pandemic.”
“I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well,” Dart said.
But Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Sundya he will be going to the rally and defended it.
“Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own health,” Lankford said on ABC’s “This Week.”
He said enforcing social distancing “will be up to city of Tulsa, the governor of Oklahoma and the Trump team itself to be able to figure out how they want to manage that.”
In an Oval Office interview last month, Trump told The Post that he would be at a “big disadvantage” if COVID-19 prevented rallies before November.
“I hope we’re going to be able to get the rallies back before the election. I actually think it’s very important,” Trump said in the interview.
“I think that would be a big — a big disadvantage to me if we didn’t, if we couldn’t have the rallies back,” he continued. “People are wanting the rallies. They want to have them so badly. They were informative but they were fun.”