Six staff members of President Donald Trump’s campaign who were working to help set up his Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tested positive for COVID-19. Trump’s campaign made the announcement Saturday, providing a stark reminder of the risks of holding a huge rally indoors in the middle of a global pandemic in a city where coronavirus cases have been on the rise. Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, issued a statement declaring that “quarantine procedures” were put in place and none of the staff members who tested positive nor anyone who had direct contact with them would attend the Tulsa rally.
Trump was told about the campaign staffers who were infected and was reportedly angry the news had been made public. The rally, which is thought to be the largest indoor gathering in the world during the pandemic, marks the first time that Trump will hold a rally in more than three months. Attendees were all handed blue face coverings but no one was enforcing the wearing of masks. Some people who received the masks immediately threw them out and reports from the scene note few rallygoers were wearing masks as they entered the arena. Hours before the start of the event there was already a crowd tightly packed near the stage and few were wearing face coverings. Everyone who entered the rally also had to undergo a temperature screening before going inside. Anyone who failed the temperature check was reportedly placed in a cooling room to get a second test in case they got a high reading due to the hot weather. If they failed the second test they were then denied entry to the rally.
Ahead of the rally, protesters faced off with Trump supporters in streets near the arena. There were around 250 National Guard soldiers assisting local law enforcement. As of late afternoon, only one arrest had been reported. The Trump campaign called on the Tulsa Police to arrest a woman, who was wearing an “I can’t breathe” shirt and wouldn’t willingly leave the secure area for the event, claiming she had a ticket to the rally. “After several minutes requesting her to leave she continued to refuse to cooperate and was escorted out of the area and transported to booking for obstruction,” Tulsa Police spokeswoman Jeanne Pierce said.
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