Tulsa readies for Trump rally

Tens of thousands of supporters are expected to attend the president's first rally in months, despite rising concern over COVID-19 infections and criticism over the Juneteenth weekend timing. NBC's Jay Gray reports.

TULSA, Okla. (NBC News) — Final preparations are underway for President Trump’s weekend rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Supporters have been camping out since last weekend.

“It’s just really important for us in the midst of everything going on to come out in great numbers and show our support to President Trump,” says Ester Seim.

On Saturday the president will host his first campaign rally since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the state struggles with a surge in covid-19 infections, the large crowd has many worried.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that this rally puts us at risk,” says Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith.

The campaign says it’s mitigating the risk by requiring temperature checks for everyone entering the arena and providing hand sanitizer and masks, although wearing those won’t be mandatory.

Many in Tulsa are also frustrated with the timing of the event, Juneteenth weekend, bringing together two very different crowds within blocks of one another.

“Hundreds if not thousands of folks who disagree with fever, right, and I suspect it will be the potential to be very dangerous,” says Oklahoma State University Professor of Africana Studies Quraysh Ali Lansana.

The president is apparently concerned as well, warning on Twitter for “protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes” to stay away.

The mayor has declared a civil emergency ahead of the rally. The National Guard has been called into the downtown area.

Read more here.

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