Most Trump rally attendees opt not to wear face masks
Most of the people attending President Trump’s Tulsa, Okla., campaign rally have opted not to wear face masks, going against guidance from public health officials and despite the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the state over the past few days.
Images from the rally show people filling the 19,000-plus seat BOK Center in Tulsa with a majority of attendees not wearing face masks.
Attending large, indoor gatherings without face coverings goes against several guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health officials.
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) June 20, 2020
A fuller view of stadium as program begins pic.twitter.com/xGdqTpwi1L
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) June 20, 2020
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) June 20, 2020
State and city officials said they are expecting roughly 200,000 people to be in Tulsa for the rally, which comes as the city is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Images from the rally show that attendance remained low, and the Trump campaign said in a statement the president and Vice President Pence would not give speeches at a separate stage designated for rally overflow outside the arena as originally planned.
The campaign has said attendees will be given temperature checks, masks and hand sanitizer before entering the arena. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that attendees will be given masks, but they won’t be required to wear them, calling it a “personal decision.”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale was spotted wearing a mask, though the president himself has been known to avoid wearing masks in public settings.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about maskless attendees.
James Lankford (R-Okla.) said last week that he had not decided if he would wear a mask to the rally himself. The senator posted a photo on Saturday of him at a meeting with local leaders and Pence where he appeared not to be wearing one.
Great conversation with pastors & leaders & @Mike_Pence. @tulsaDreamCtr is a remarkable ministry to bring food, education & mentoring to the community. We all can learn from their example. pic.twitter.com/STmB6U3cdt
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) June 20, 2020
Democratic lawmakers criticized the administration’s hesitation to use masks in public, saying it sets the wrong example for the rest of the country.