Pence says campaign considering different venue, ‘outside activities’ for Tulsa rally
Vice President Pence said Tuesday that President Trump’s campaign is considering “outside activities” and a different venue for his upcoming Tulsa rally
“It’s all a work in progress. We have had such an overwhelming response that we’re also looking at another venue, we’re also looking at outside activities and I know the campaign team will keep the public informed as that goes forward,” Pence said on “Fox & Friends” when asked whether the campaign had considered holding the event outside because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A campaign official told The Hill later Tuesday that the rally would still be held at Tulsa’s BOK center “but the campaign is also considering other areas adjacent to the arena to allow the President to address even more people.”
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) told reporters on Monday that he had asked the campaign to consider moving Saturday’s rally to another venue outside to accommodate more guests.
“We’re excited we’re being recognized as one of the first states to safely and measurably reopen,” Stitt said. “I’m looking for a potential other venue that maybe we could move it outside. It’s still kind of in the works.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Fox News in an interview Monday that the campaign was planning to have “events outside” in order to accommodate a larger crowd.
The Trump campaign says it has received more than 1 million requests for tickets to the June 20 rally, though the BOK Center holds roughly 19,000 people.
The Trump campaign has faced criticism for the decision to hold the rally during the pandemic. Over the weekend, the director of Tulsa’s health department expressed concerns about the plans to stage the event in the city, pointing to a “significant increase” in case trends that would make a large gathering like a rally unsafe.
Pence stressed Tuesday that the campaign planned to perform temperature checks on attendees and distribute hand sanitizer and masks at the event in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The vice president said the campaign is working closely with Stitt on the plans.
The rally will mark Trump’s first since March when he was forced to suspend rallies and other in-person campaign activities as a result of closures prompted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has sickened more than 2 million Americans and killed more than 116,000 people in the country.
Oklahoma has begun to loosen restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus so that businesses can reopen, but several states like it have seen spikes in cases and hospitalizations, contributing to fears that states could implement future restrictions.
The rally was initially scheduled for Friday, June 19, but Trump moved it after outcry over the decision to hold the event on Juneteenth, a day that memorializes the end of slavery.
— Updated at 12:07 p.m.
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