KEY POINTS

  • Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he's "not positive that everything is safe" at the upcoming Trump rally
  • Sen. James Lankford, R-Ok. also said that the elderly and people with co-morbidities must not attend
  • Tulsa officials said that 100,000 people are expected to pack the indoor venue, thus raising the risk of coronavirus transmission

The mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where President Donald Trump will hold his first campaign rally after three months of lockdown, understands the concerns about a potential increase in new COVID-19 cases.

In a press conference Wednesday (June 17), Republican Mayor G.T. Bynum said that he's "not positive that everything is safe" in light of the threats of coronavirus transmission. Bynum also cannot assure the public that the mass gathering will not lead to the spread of COVID-19.

On Saturday (June 20), Trump and the GOP will hold its first-ever rally since the coronavirus pandemic. Officials in Tulsa said that 100,000 people are expected to pack the indoor venue at the BOK Center, while Trump and his campaign team said that the rally would have nearly a million attendees.

"Any rational person looking at any large grouping of people would have concerns about this weekend," Bynum acknowledged. But he confirmed that he would also be at the event because it's a "tremendous honor" for Trump to pick Tulsa as his first stop for his re-election bid.

1600px-BOK_Center_faccade Trump will hold his first large-scale rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa since the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Sen. James Lankford, R-Ok., also expressed some apprehensions about the rally. In an interview with Morning Joe, Lankford advised Trump's elderly supporters and those with co-morbidities to stay at home and just watch the rally on television.

"The hard part about it, and I’ve tried to explain this to other folks, when you’re at a large gathering like that, as you know, it’s hard to be able to hear sometimes,” Lankford said in the interview. “So, there’s going to be times [people will] pull masks on and off. That’s why I really encourage people, if you have other health issues, I discourage you from coming to the event.”

But Lankford also said in an interview with CNN Sunday (June 14) that he's not yet sure if he's going to wear a mask. He said that he's fully aware the whole country has its eyes on his state, yet he argued that Oklahoma has been "way ahead of a lot of the other areas in the country" upon reopening.

Bruce Dart of the state's Health Department said that COVID-19 hospitalizations increased since Jun 6. He warned that anyone attending the mass gathering on Saturday automatically cases an increased risk of contracting the virus.

The Trump campaign will be putting safety measures in place, such as giving face masks and hand sanitizers. However, those coming to the rally will also need to sign a waiver that they won't sue the campaign if they do get sick from the virus.

Meanwhile, a state judge rejected a lawsuit that hoped to stop the rally unless the campaign imposes stricter measures like social distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks.