Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump began to gather since early morning Saturday to participate in the first electoral rally held by the American billionaire in months, stressing that the risks of catching a Covid-19 in a closed and crowded stadium will not discourage them from attending.
Trump supporters gathered around the stadium, around which a security cordon was struck, most of them wearing red caps or wearing red shirts reading “Return America to its Greatness”.
But only a few masks were placed in the midst of a widespread lack of compliance with the rules of social estrangement, despite the very high incidence of recent Covid-19 case in Oklahoma.
The US President played down the importance of fears that the electoral rally, which will be attended by thousands of people and interspersed with chants, will cause an outbreak of the epidemic, hoping instead that the controversial event will restore enthusiasm in his campaign.
But the stakes are actually very high, whether on the health level, with 19,000 people rallying for hours inside a closed stadium in Tulsa, or on Trump’s chances of winning a second presidential term less than five months before the due date in which polls show his delay.
“We are here today to show our support for President Trump, and that we, the people, will win the 2020 elections, regardless of what the misleading media and the liberal, left-wing, and dominant big-minded companies say,” said a crowd named Brad.
A quick survey of the license plates showed that the majority of the participants are from Oklahoma, but a minority coming from nearby states will return after the gathering ends to their areas and may be mixed with the stadium with virus infected people.
In addition to the controversy based on the background of the risks of the epidemic, the electoral rally raises a wide debate for its timing, which was initially scheduled for Friday in conjunction with the commemoration of the end of slavery in the country, especially that it is being held in a city with a history of massacres committed against African Americans.
The majority of those gathered on Saturday in front of the stadium are white.
The rally will be the first chapter of Trump’s election campaign since the March 2 closure to contain the pandemic.
Since Covid-19 has caused about 120,000 deaths in the United States, it has largely paralyzed the country’s economy that was booming and which Trump was relying on his power to promote his campaign.
Trump is counting on the mass participation of his supporters in elections in states where there are election fights, and hopes that the election rally in Tulsa will reflect the strength of the campaign.
The state of Oklahoma is a party of party affiliation, and Trump’s goal will not be to persuade its constituents as much as it will revive his campaign, which was severely affected by the way the Coronavirus crisis and the racist unrest that has been recorded in recent weeks are managed.
Criticism of Trump is not confined to his opponent, Joe Biden or the Democratic Party, but extends to the Republican Party.
Perhaps the most prominent criticism was issued by former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton prior to the release of his book, “The Room Wear It Happend,” where he describes Trump as ignorant and corrupt.
On Saturday, a federal judge replied to a petition filed by the US administration to prevent the book’s release.
With polls showing its lag, Trump is seeking to change the equation.
About 100,000 people, including Trump supporters and demonstrators, are expected to demonstrate against racism in Tulsa, in the conservative Oklahoma state in the south of the country.
Friday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit demanding that the electoral community be banned due to health concerns.
“We are confident in our ability to work safely in Tulsa,” said White House spokeswoman Kylie McKinney.
She stressed that the organizers will provide everyone with hand sanitizers, will measure the participants’ temperature, and will distribute masks for whoever wants.
However, participants will have to sign a document that protects the organizers from legal prosecution in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak during the rally.
Trump was keen from the first moment of the outbreak in the United States not to appear in public, putting a protective mask, and he has confirmed for weeks that the outbreak is witnessing a slowdown to allow the economic recovery.