Trump rejects Tulsa rally coronavirus concerns, saying will triple crowd

WION Web Team
Tulsa, United States Published: Jun 16, 2020, 02:17 PM(IST)

Donald Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

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He was responding to criticism from the local Tulsa newspaper and a top public health official in the city about his election campaign rally, which is scheduled for Saturday and comes as Oklahoma is seeing a recent increase in COVID-19 cases.

President Donald Trump on Monday rejected pleas from Tulsa, Oklahoma, not to risk aggravating coronavirus risks by holding a rally there, announcing he wants to triple the crowd to 60,000 people.

"We have a 22,000 seat arena, but I think we're also going to take the convention hall next door and that's going to hold 40,000," he told reporters at the White House.

He was responding to criticism from the local Tulsa newspaper and a top public health official in the city about his election campaign rally, which is scheduled for Saturday and comes as Oklahoma is seeing a recent increase in COVID-19 cases.

"This is the wrong time," the Tulsa World newspaper said in a bluntly worded editorial.

Also read: Trump delays Oklahoma rally after decry of massacre on Juneteenth

"We don't know why he chose Tulsa, but we can't see any way that his visit will be good for the city."

The newspaper pointed out that COVID-19 continues to spread and there is no vaccine.

"It will be our health care system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow," it said.

Also read: Trump defends holding first rally in months on Juneteenth in Tulsa

The arena that the Trump campaign has booked holds about 20,000 people, who would be packed closely together.

In a tweet Monday, Trump claimed that applications to attend the rally in the city, which has a population of less than half a million, were flooding in.

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He hadn’t previously mentioned plans to pack a second, bigger venue. The former real estate tycoon frequently exaggerates numbers, regularly claiming that as many as tens of thousands of people are outside the arenas, unable to get in, when that is not true.

Trump said Oklahoma had done “really fantastic work” on fighting Covid-19. He said he’d predicted there would be “hotspots” and “we’ll take care of the hotspots”.

However, the coronavirus pandemic forced Trump to shelve his rally schedule, putting a serious dent in his re-election strategy.

An initial plan to reopen the rallies in Tulsa this Friday, June 19, was criticised because this would coincide with the annual “Juneteenth” commemorations for the end of slavery in the United States.

With protests unfolding across the country against what campaigners call systemic racism against African Americans, Trump’s campaign decided to put the rally off by a day.

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