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Trump’s Tulsa rally a dampener

Washington: In an arena with thousands of empty seats, President Donald Trump held his first campaign rally since the US coronavirus lockdown began.

The smaller than expected crowd was a striking disconnect from the million people Trump had said wanted to come.

There had been concerns about holding the rally during the pandemic.

Coronavirus was one issue Trump touched on in his wide-ranging, almost two-hour-long speech to cheering supporters in Oklahoma, a Republican heartland.

Trump said he told officials to slow down Covid-19 testing because so many cases were being detected, in remarks later described as a joke.

Those attending the rally had to sign a waiver protecting the Trump campaign from responsibility for any illness. Hours before the event began, officials said six staff members involved in organising the rally had tested positive.

However, it is unclear why attendance was lower than initially anticipated. Trump referred to those in the stadium as “warriors”, while blaming the media and protesters for keeping supporters away. There were some volatile scenes outside the venue but no serious trouble was reported.

Trump’s re-election campaign event was one of the biggest indoor gatherings held in the US since the country’s Covid-19 outbreak began, and came at a time when Oklahoma is seeing a rise in confirmed cases.

In his opening remarks, Trump said there had been “very bad people outside, they were doing bad things”, but did not elaborate. Black Lives Matter activists were among the counter-protesters to gather outside the venue before the event.

On the coronavirus response, Trump said he had encouraged officials to slow down testing because it led to more cases being discovered. He described testing as a “double-edged sword”.

“Here is the bad part: When you do testing to that extent, you are going to find more people, you will find more cases,” he told the cheering crowd. “So I said ‘slow the testing down’. They test and they test.”

The coronavirus, Trump said, had many names, including “Kung Flu”, a xenophobic term that appears to be a reference to China, where Covid-19 originated.

Taking aim at his Democratic presidential rival, Trump described Joe Biden as “a helpless puppet of the radical left”.

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Latest News USA

Trump going ahead with Tulsa rally amid fears of virus spread

Washington: Ahead of President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, his supporters will get their temperature checked and receive masks and hand sanitizers at the rally venue.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a tweet that there will be precautions for the heat and bottled water as well.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told CNBC News that masks will be optional but each attendee of the Tulsa rally will receive one.

The development comes after President Donald Trump rejected pleas from Tulsa, Oklahoma, not to risk aggravating coronavirus cases by holding a rally there.

The editorial board of Tulsa World, a local newspaper, on Monday called on Trump to reconsider hosting the rally.

In response, Trump tweeted that the “Far Left Fake News Media” is “trying to COVID shame us on our big rallies” despite having “no problem” with the massive protests that have taken place across the nation following Floyd’s death.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, Trump claimed Oklahoma “has done very well” in addressing the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Monday, there were more than 8,400 coronavirus infections in Oklahoma with 359 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

After a public outcry against its timing, Trump had rescheduled the Tulsa rally, originally scheduled for Friday, the Juneteenth, a day that memorializes the end of slavery in the US.

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Latest News USA

Masks, fever checks at Trump’s Tulsa rally

Washington: Ahead of President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, his supporters will get their temperature checked and receive masks and hand sanitizers at the rally venue.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a tweet that there will be precautions for the heat and bottled water as well.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told CNBC News that masks will be optional but each attendee of the Tulsa rally will receive one.

The development comes after President Donald Trump rejected pleas from Tulsa, Oklahoma, not to risk aggravating coronavirus cases by holding a rally there.

The editorial board of Tulsa World, a local newspaper, on Monday called on Trump to reconsider hosting the rally.

In response, Trump tweeted that the “Far Left Fake News Media” is “trying to COVID shame us on our big rallies” despite having “no problem” with the massive protests that have taken place across the nation following Floyd’s death.

“Won’t work,” he added.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, Trump claimed Oklahoma “has done very well” in addressing the coronavirus outbreak.

“Oklahoma is at a very low number,” Trump said. “They’ve done really fantastic work.”

As of Monday, there were more than 8,400 coronavirus infections in Oklahoma with 359 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Nationwide, there have been 2,113,372 confirmed cases and 116,135 deaths.

After a public outcry against its timing, Trump had rescheduled the Tulsa rally, originally scheduled for Friday, the Juneteenth, a day that memorializes the end of slavery in the US.

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