The US president is organizing his first meeting on Saturday since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic in Tulsa. It was in this city of Oklahoma where a terrible massacre of about 300 African Americans of the white population occurred in 1921.
Donald Trump has agreed to change the date but not the location of his first campaign meeting after the coronavirus. Originally scheduled for June 19, “Juneteenth” Day, which celebrated the 155th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the United States, the meeting was postponed to the next day under pressure from critics.
His opponent was also annoyed at his election of Tulsa, marked by the memory of the massacre of 300 African Americans by a white crowd, in 1921. Why, if not for a provocation, choose Oklahoma for its first rural meeting, when the Republican state is acquired?
“My campaign has not yet begun. It starts on Saturday night in Oklahoma,” said the president, who will be attending a second term in the November 3 presidential election.
Large crowds and lines already formed in Tulsa. My campaign has not started yet. It starts on Saturday night in Oklahoma!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2020
Between “Trumpists” and anti-racist protesters, up to 100,000 people are expected from Friday to Saturday in Tulsa.
And the excitement weighs on the city, where we are afraid of the abundance surrounding this meeting surrounded by a double controversy: first the risk of exacerbating the spread of Covid-19 in a country that has the heaviest record in the world, then the choice to organize its grand return around the memory of the end of slavery. A “real bang” according to the local leader of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
The reversals surrounding a curfew that was then interrupted by the Republican mayor of the city increased controversy.
Few masks among activists
Wearing the “Trump 2020” cap, waving American flags and campaigning on the streets, enthusiastic supporters have been waiting for the president for several days to meet him in person.
Despite the pandemic and while Oklahoma is experiencing a sharp sharp increase in detected cases, it is in a covered room, the BOK Center, that about 20,000 people will invade.
Donald Trump claimed that one million people had requested tickets and said about 40,000 could also attend the meeting in a nearby conference hall.
Almost none of his followers wore masks on Friday. And attendees of Donald Trump’s meetings will have to sign a document saying they will give up every trial if they ever catch the virus at this time.
On Saturday, six members of the Donald Trump campaign tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday in Oklahoma, announcing their team a few hours before the opening of this first major rally organized in a closed room in complete pandemic.
“Quarantine procedures were implemented immediately,” the communications manager for the presidential reelection campaign, Tim Murtaugh, told AFP. “None of the Covid-positive employees or anyone who has been in direct contact will be present at the meeting or with attendees or elected officials” on Saturday night in Tulsa where 20,000 people are expected, he said.
Participants are not worried
The participants seem to care more about anti-racist protesters than about the virus. Stephen Corley, 19, said he was more concerned about the “extremist left” and other “insurgency” demonstrations than Covid-19.
Organizers take participants’ temperature and distribute disinfectant gel and masks.
Despite this, the White House’s respected contagious security expert Anthony Fauci was clear: would he participate in such an event? “Obviously not.”
“Trump is ready to spread the virus just to hear some cheers,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, a former presidential candidate and now Joe Biden’s support, indignantly.