Tulsa newspaper and top health official call on Trump to cancel rally

June 15th, 2020  |  Source: The Guardian

Event planned at space that holds 19,000, sparking concerns over public health amid coronavirus pandemic and race relations amid national protests

The Tulsa World newspaper has backed the city’s top public health official in asking Donald Trump not to stage a controversial rally there on Saturday. The paper expressed concern both in terms of public health because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and race relations in light of national protests against police brutality. “We don’t know why he chose Tulsa,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote, “but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city.”

Trump’s first rally since early March was moved from Friday to avoid a clash with Juneteenth, the day on which African Americans commemorate the end of slavery, in the city which in 1921 was host to the worst race massacre in US history. But it will go ahead on Saturday, with the president claiming hundreds of thousands want to attend. The BOK Center venue holds a little over 19,000 people. The US president’s return to the campaign trail is part of Trump’s attempts to reopen an economy battered by a pandemic which has killed more than 115,000 Americans. Over the weekend, cases were reported to be rising in Oklahoma and other mostly Republican-led states which have been reopening since late May. On Saturday, the Tulsa public health director, Bruce Dart, told the World he was “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. I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.” Rally attendees will have to sign a waiver, saying they will not hold the Trump campaign responsible if they contract Covid-19. Nonetheless, Trump allies including the White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Oklahoma senator James Lankford have insisted it is safe to hold the rally.

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