As Oklahoma experiences an explosion of new COVID cases, Donald Trump pushes ahead with a massive indoor campaign rally in Tulsa. The event is scheduled in a state currently experiencing a 7.7% increase in COVID cases- the largest in the United States. This event is under heavy fire from health experts as cases are expected to surge after this mass gathering.
Not only is the Trump administration putting their COVID ravaged nation and stressed health system at further risk, the actual date and location of this rally originally fell on June 19th. Known as Juneteenth, this day marks the end of slavery in the United States. In addition, Tulsa is the site of one of the deadliest massacres in American History. White mobs killed an estimated 300 people in a prosperous African American led business area. Amid the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests sparked by the brutal Murder of George Floyd, scheduling a republican rally on Juneteenth and in Tulsa is blatantly disrespectful. This scheduling sends one of two offensive messages:
Trump and the Republican National Committee were aware of the implications of the rally’s date and location, and simply wanted to aggravate the Black community.
Trump and the Republican National Committee were not aware of the date and location’s significance because they have no regard for the Black community.
Trump faced immediate backlash once the rally was announced and held his position until recently caving in and deciding to change the rally’s date to June 20th. The rally goers are not required to wear masks and must sign a disclaimer ensuring the Trump campaign cannot be held liable if attendees contract coronavirus:
"By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury," the disclaimer reads, reported by CNN.
To further legitimise fears that the event will increase the state's coronavirus cases, it has been revealed that six campaign staffers setting up the Tulsa rally have tested positive for COVID-19. As Tulsa is flooded with tens of thousands of Trump supporters (many of whom have travelled from out of state), one can only imagine that the number of cases will skyrocket.