This week, President Donald Trump is returning to the campaign trail with a campaign rally that’s planned for Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday. Rallies had been cancelled amidst nationwide shutdowns meant to try and stem the spread of the Coronavirus, and that threat has not gone away — in fact, areas in Oklahoma have been facing new one-day highs in their confirmed case counts just recently. In an interview with local publication The Tulsa World, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Bruce Dart insisted that there’s such a lingering danger from the Coronavirus that he wishes the president’s rally could be postponed.
If just one person or a small group of people at the rally are carrying the Coronavirus, then it could spread rapidly among the crowd. Large gatherings have frequently provided the space for sudden spikes in the spread of the virus.
‘I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic. I’m 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. COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently. I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today… A large indoor rally with 19-20,000 people is a huge risk factor today in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I want to make sure we can keep everyone in that building safe, including the president.’
Dart is not the only figure who’s spoken out against the president’s plans to hold a rally in the city — the editorial board of The Tulsa World has as well. In a piece published this week, they bluntly stated:
‘We don’t know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city. There is no treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine. It will be our health care system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow. This is the wrong time.’
“Tulsa City-County Health Department director Dr. Bruce Dart told the Tulsa World that the city is experiencing a “significant increase in our case trends” that could put Trump at the risk of exposure himself.” https://t.co/znnkN00vbk
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) June 14, 2020
Trump has already dismissively responded to the criticism. He has suggested that those pointing out the simple facts of the lingering dangers from the Coronavirus are just trying to make him look bad.
Early Monday, he tweeted:
‘The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!’
The American people will continue to pay the price for the president’s willful ignorance.
The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2020