Quantcast

Trump Rejects Virus Worries, Tulsa Rally Is On

In this Feb. 28, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, in North Charleston, S.C. Trump holds a rally in Tulsa on Saturday, June 20. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Trump looks to reset campaign amid pandemic with Tulsa rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pressing ahead in a pandemic, President Donald Trump looked to reverse a decline in his political fortunes Saturday by returning to the format that has so often energized himself and his loyal supporters: a raucous, no-holds-barred rally before tens of thousands of ardent fans, this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The rally was shaping up to be one of the biggest indoor events in the U.S. since large gatherings were shut down in March because of the coronavirus, and it was scheduled over the protests of local health officials and as COVID-19 cases spike in many states. The event was expected to draw crowds of protesters to the area as well.

It’s been more than three months since the nation last saw a Trump rally. The unemployment rate stood at about 3.5% that March 2. The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. was estimated at 91. “Our country is stronger than ever before,” Trump declared.

Now, the unemployment rate stands at 13.3%, based on the most recent monthly report. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has soared to about 2.2 million. The number of deaths reported in the U.S. has surpassed 119,000.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

Outrage over the criminal justice system’s treatment of minorities following the death of George Floyd and other African Americans has spawned protests around the nation. Only about a quarter of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction.

Trump understands the stakes and was determined to return to his signature campaign events. He dismissed complaints that bringing together throngs for an indoor rally risked spreading the coronavirus as nothing more than politics.

“Big crowds and lines already forming in Tulsa. My campaign hasn’t started yet. It starts on Saturday night in Oklahoma!” Trump tweeted Friday.

Trump’s visit has also raised fears of clashes between protesters and Trump supporters. Officials expect a crowd of 100,000 people or more in downtown Tulsa. Trump will speak inside the BOK Center as well as at an outdoor stage.

But his audience also will be voters in battleground states such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

Republican strategist Alex Conant said the rally gives the president a chance to reset his campaign after a couple of tough months.

“The Tulsa rally is trying to ignite some momentum in a campaign that’s been going nowhere,” Conant said. “When you look at the polls and then you look at the calendar, you realize he has to do something to try to reframe the election.”

The events in Tulsa will go a long way to determining how the campaign plays out in coming months. A success lays the groundwork for Trump to take his show to states that will determine the presidential election.

A spike in coronavirus cases coming out of Tulsa would make his reception in those states more contentious.

The campaign said it will hand out masks and hand sanitizer, but there is no requirement that participants use them. Participants will also undergo a temperature check.

The president’s campaign views his rallies as critical to his success. They elevate the enthusiasm level of his supporters and often lead them to donate, knock on doors and make phone calls on the president’s behalf.

Trump has generally held his campaign rallies in swing states or in Democratic-leaning states such as Colorado or New Mexico that he hopes to flip this November. Oklahoma fits none of those categories.

The last Democratic candidate to emerge victorious there in a presidential election was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Trump won the state with more than 65% of the vote in the 2016 election. The Republican stronghold gives Trump more assurance that he’ll face little resistance to his efforts from top state officials.

“It’s going to be safe,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican. “We have to learn how to be safe and how to move on.”

Tulsa resident Sue Williams picked her place in line Thursday afternoon. “I’ve been praying, and I don’t believe I’m going to get the coronavirus,” Williams, 72, said, adding that she signed a waiver on her ticket application about the risks involved in going inside.

Mark Kelleher, of Oklahoma City, dismissed the threat of the virus as “fear porn.”

“I think it’s all a hoax, to tell you the truth,” Kelleher said.

The rally was originally scheduled for Friday, but it was moved back a day following an uproar that it otherwise would have happened on Juneteenth, and in a city where a 1921 white-on-black attack killed as many as 300 people.

Campaign officials said that Trump would focus on what they call the “great American comeback.” White House officials continue to project strong growth numbers for the U.S. economy in the third and fourth quarters. They want to give Americans a reason for optimism. “We are back and we will be booming,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday.

But Conant said he anticipates a lot of the speech will focus on presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“Right now the election is a referendum on Trump, and he’s losing,” Conant said. “I think he needs to make a very strong case for why Biden would be a worse president.”

RECENTLY: 

Trump Rally-Goers Unfazed By Virus Talk

Trump, Fauci No Longer Speaking

- Advertisement -

TRENDING

US Food Industry Poisons Consumers: Consumer Advocate

FOOD SAFETY NEWS – Some, I am sure, are a bit tired of my ranting about the FSIS doing its job and deeming Salmonella...

Judge Halts Federal Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers In Ten States

NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION-LEADER – A federal judge blocked the government on Monday from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers in New Hampshire and...

Deadly Flu Season Forecast For Older Americans

WTOP – The flu season is beginning to gain traction with a predominant strain that concerns one infectious disease expert, and he’s urging everyone 6...

‘Vaccine Inequity’ Seen As Omicron Incubator

The emergence of the new omicron variant and the world's desperate and likely futile attempts to keep it at bay are reminders of what scientists have warned for months: The coronavirus will thrive as long as vast parts of the world lack vaccines.

Couple Pulled Off Plane After Fleeing Quarantine

Dutch authorities have isolated 61 people who tested positive for COVID-19 on two arriving flights originating from South Africa, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Authorities are carrying out further investigations to see if any of the travelers have the omicron variant.

‘All-Or-Nothing’ Abortion Case Reaches Supreme Court

Both sides are telling the Supreme Court there’s no middle ground in Wednesday’s showdown over abortion. The justices can either reaffirm the constitutional right to an abortion or wipe it away altogether.

Omicron Finger-Pointing Begins

Many of the world's richest countries have spent the past year hoarding coronavirus vaccines, buying up enough doses to vaccinate their populations several times over and consistently failing to deliver on their promises to share doses with the developing world. The World Health Organization said the approach was "self-defeating" and "immoral."

Governors Urge Caution On Omicron

Governors across the United States tried to reassure Americans on Sunday that their administrations were closely monitoring the impact of a new coronavirus variant that has alarmed scientists.

FDA: Merck COVID Pill Effective, Safety Questions Remain

Federal health regulators say an experimental COVID-19 pill from Merck is effective against the virus, but they will seek input from outside experts on risks of birth defects and other potential problems during pregnancy.

Ivermectin, ‘Miracle Drug’?

MedPage Today – Pierre Kory, MD, one of the most vocal proponents of ivermectin, got COVID-19 in August, despite taking the anti-parasitic medication on...
- Advertisement -