President Donald Trump took to Twitter to boast about the number of people who want to attend Saturday’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, writing that “Almost One Million people request tickets for the Saturday Night Rally.”
Almost One Million people request tickets for the Saturday Night Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2020
The rally remains a point of contention for many critics, particularly the Tulsa Health Department, which has urged the president to cancel the event altogether, citing fears that it would set off a spike in coronavirus infections in the state.
“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Dr. Bruce Dart, the Tulsa City-County Health Department’s director, told Tulsa World over the weekend. “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”
“COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently,” Dart continued. “I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”
Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, called Saturday’s rally “an extraordinarily dangerous move for the people participating and the people who may know them and love them and see them afterward.”
“I’d feel the same way if Joe Biden were holding a rally.” Dr. Jha told the Denver Post.
The rally also goes against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which notes that “Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area” pose the highest risk for transmitting infections.