President Trump’s zeal for rally mode is rising almost as it has in coronavirus cases in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his campaign calls for a small meeting on Saturday. The weather in Tulsa is expected to be muggy and nearly 90 degrees, with a high chance of thunder and lightning.
You don’t say that
“Bad Idea” is failing to capture how ruthless and vicious it is to pack an arena on a steamy night with thousands of wild hotheads in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak.
The disease, from which around 120,000 Americans have died to date, penetrates the population fastest when people are crowded indoors and scream for long periods of time.
Check, check, check, check. The Tulsa rally has it all.
Except for masks and social distancing. This week, a Tulsa lawsuit attempted to enforce security measures at the rally. “If ASM Global” – which operates the rally arena – “pushes the event forward without proper review, planning, training, protective gear and safeguards, cases of COVID-19 – and the inevitable deaths associated with it – will increase,” it says it said in the lawsuit.
A Tulsa judge denied the request. It is now on the state Supreme Court. In the meantime, ticket holders had to swear that if they get sick they won’t complain. And rally goers are given hand sanitizer and masks, but nothing is mandatory. Given that Trump is still shaking hands and refusing to mask himself, even health conscious participants are likely to wrap up and be mask-free, if only as a token of respect for their hero who cares about devils.
This rally is really developing into a teeming petri dish in a wrecking ball in a juggernaut.
Then there’s the disgusting fact that Trump’s MAGA extravaganza explodes amid a two-day June 19th local celebration that marks the emancipation of enslaved blacks and coast-to-coast protests against George Floyd this year.
These demonstrations and calls for police reform or abolition have received widespread support, although Trump has repeatedly lied about who is protesting and what their goals are, attempting to quell protests with military force earlier this month.
In addition to the strong possibility that the Tulsa rally could spread the coronavirus far and wide, confrontation and even violence could be on the horizon. Black community leaders in Tulsa have warned that an appearance by Trump, whose racism is part of his appeal, is a mockery.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a popular Republican in a state that Trump won 65.3% in 2016, has been speaking on the event almost since it was announced.
First he invited Trump to visit Tulsa’s Greenwood District, where a mass massacre took place in 1921 in which white terrorists, with the help of local police and the National Guard, slaughtered hundreds of black residents and devastated what was then the nation’s richest black neighborhood.
Perhaps Stitt thought the president was enjoying a history lesson, or Tulsa’s black leadership might want to meet the father of birthright, Muslim prohibition, and internment camps for Latino children.
No and no. State Democratic MP Regina Goodwin of Tulsa, chair of the Oklahoma Black Legislative Caucus, described Trump’s planned visit to Greenwood as “more provocative than productive”.
On Wednesday, Stitt turned back. He urged Trump to stay away from the sacred ground, but he was delighted with the president’s visit. “We’re in very, very good shape right now” for a great rally, he said, regardless of the coronavirus statistics.
Stitt insisted that Oklahomans wouldn’t be forced to pack into the arena to see Trump. That was great of him. “You can stay home when you are more comfortable,” he said.
As for Trump’s decision to take his racist campaign to a city with a history of deadly white terrorism during the June 19 celebrations at the height of American racial tensions, Stitt was dismissive and lighthearted.
“We have great relationships with all of the different races in Oklahoma.”
Sincere question: what are trumpites talking about when they say such things? The Tulsa massacre was one of the worst racial atrocities in American history. The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was the nation’s deadliest domestic terrorist attack. His mastermind, Timothy McVeigh, was a white supremacist.
More recently, in 2016, protests against Black Lives Matter erupted when a white Tulsa police officer, Betty Jo Shelby, shot dead an unarmed black motorist, Terence Crutcher, who was convicted of manslaughter.
And on June 4, Tulsa police molested, handcuffed and forcibly restrained two black teenagers for walking in the middle of a quiet, traffic-free street. An officer sat on one of the boys and held the back of his neck while he pressed his face into the ground.
We have great relationships with all of the different races in Oklahoma.
These guys may wish for the pandemic and police brutality, but both are systematic – and Saturday’s rally in Tulsa is a powder keg.
Stitt won’t wear a mask when he takes the stage to introduce Trump, he said on Thursday. He seemed excited to see an arena full of Trump supporters.
Tulsa is sure to be the center of something this weekend. Presumably the governor wants to breathe everything in.