‘First’ Trump campaign rally set for Saturday in Tulsa, health experts concerned


Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Ole Olafson, Reporter

Late last week, President Trump announced that he will reschedule the date for his MAGA rally in Tulsa, Okl. For June, 20, one day after it was originally planned.

Trump’s first rally since campaigning was suspended by the coronavirus outbreak was initially set for June 19, the same day as the Juneteenth Holiday, also known as Jubilee Day or Freedom Day.  The holiday commemorates the day in 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Tex. learned that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been passed over two and a half years earlier.

CNN reported the combination of the original date of the rally and the location of Tulsa, the site of a 1921 massacre of over 30 black citizens by a white mob, was too much for many political leaders.

Kamala Harris, a potential pick as candidate Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020 spoke out in a tweet last Thursday.

“This isn’t just a wink to white supremacists — he’s throwing them a welcome home party,” Harris tweeted.

Texas congressman Al Green called it “overt racism from the highest office in the land.”

President Trump tweeted last Friday night that he was rescheduling the rally to honor the requests of many of his African American friends and supporters who suggested he change the date.

The other issue involved with Saturday’s rally involves health concerns related to the still lingering coronavirus pandemic.

According to an ABC News article published Tuesday, the Tulsa health department reported the highest number of new cases in a single day on Monday.  Dallas, Tex. is a large, regional city where numerous rally-goers could travel from.  It is also, like Phoenix, a coronavirus hotspot, setting recent records for numbers of new cases and hospitalizations.

The White House’s own plan for reopening states reportedly claims that large gatherings should only take place under the third phase of reopening in states and regions with “no evidence of a rebound,” “robust” testing and two weeks of declining positive COVID-19 cases.

The Trump campaign had initially eluded to the event likely being held at an outdoor venue.  A situation most health experts claim would be much safer.  The fact that the event will be held indoors, at the Bank of Oklahoma Center, with participants who may have traveled to get there, along with yelling, cheering and chanting, has health experts concerned for the safety of all, including the president.

ABC reported that campaign officials have told them that no social distancing restrictions will be in place and senior citizens will not be restricted from attending.  Masks and hand sanitizer will reportedly be made available to rally-goers, but masks will not be required to be worn.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious expert in the country was asked if he would attend the rally.

“Personally, I would not.  Of course not,” he told the Daily Beast on Tuesday.  Fauci added that he was in the “high-risk category” and advised all attendees to wear facial coverings.