The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: tulsa rally

Trump Rally Spread Virus To Hundreds In Tulsa, Say Health Officials

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

While a lot of bombshell stories in the Trump era have been unpredictable, this one was not. Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Bruce Dart said on Wednesday that the president's recent rally in the city "likely contributed" to the surging outbreak of COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.

"In the past few days, we've seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots," he said.

Read Now Show less

Herman Cain Went To Tulsa Rally Without Mask— Now In Hospital With Covid-19

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO who ran in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, has been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Atlanta.

According to a statement posted on the 74-year-old Cain's Twitter account, the far-right Tea Party activist — who President Donald Trump, at one point, considered for the position of Federal Reserve chairman— was diagnosed with coronavirus on Monday. And on Wednesday, his symptoms had grown worse and "required hospitalization."

Read Now Show less

Trump Campaign Blocked Safety Measures At Tulsa Rally To Make Crowd Look Bigger

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Trump campaign deliberately arranged for Trump's recent rally in Tulsa Oklahoma to be as dangerous a venue for the spread of Covid-19 as possible, even as they required those who did attend the now-infamous event to sign away their right to sue if they became infected.

Read Now Show less

On TV Show, Lou Dobbs Floats Ouster Of Trump's Campaign Manager

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

After President Donald Trump's recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which featured a lower-than-expected crowd turnout after the campaign had hyped expected attendance for days, Fox host and Trump confidant Lou Dobbs is questioning the effectiveness of Trump's reelection campaign apparatus.

Trump's campaign rally, held indoors at the Bank of Oklahoma center in Tulsa on June 20, drew around 6,200 attendees in a venue that had a maximum capacity of over 19,000. The campaign -- including both Trump and Brad Parscale, his campaign manager -- had spent the week prior boasting about receiving a million ticket requests. The event also initially featured an outdoor overflow venue where Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were scheduled to speak to excess supporters -- at one point, Trump predicted 40,000 people could attend in that space -- but the overflow plan was scrapped at the last minute when fewer than 25 people showed up.

Read Now Show less

Beyond His Engorged Ego, Trump Sees Nothing

That Associated Press photo of a disheveled, exhausted Boss Trump trudging across the White House lawn with his tie undone clutching MAGA hat in his hand appears destined to become the classic portrait of his reign of misrule: the beginning of the end.

As usual, the debacle in Tulsa, with its acres of empty blue seats, was everybody's fault but Donald J. Trump's. A classic case of over-promising and under-delivering. "We've never had an empty seat, and we certainly won't in Oklahoma," Trump had boasted. Oops!

Hundreds of thousands were anticipated; maybe 10,000 showed. Maybe. The Big Crybaby's campaign alibis that non-violent protesters scared his supporters away from the Tulsa rally. Protesters and the news media that is, which unfairly publicized rising Covid-19 infections there and across Oklahoma.

But it wasn't Black Lives Matter or the largely imaginary Antifa that threatened violence, it was Trump himself. "Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand," he tweeted a couple of days before the debacle "you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene."

People were going to get hurt.

(Hey, darlin', how about we load up the kids and go see the riot?")

On racial issues, Boss Trump's invariable message is "Let's you and him fight." He's running as the candidate of the white people in the red states, period. A gang of bearded white guys in camos carry AR-15s into the Michigan statehouse and he tweets "LIBERATE MICHIGAN." But let Black Lives Matter activists march and chant in city streets, and they're "thugs" and "terrorists."

Thanks to criminals who use civic disorder as an excuse to loot and burn, Trump's threadbare race-baiting plays with a many of his supporters. However, one can't help but notice the growing proportion of white Americans—and not just college kids—among protesters marching in the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis. The nation's conscience has been touched.

Now me, I have no use for NASCAR whatsoever. The noise alone would make me crazy. It's also my view that nothing involving an engine can be properly called a sport. That said, the sight of large contingent of NASCAR drivers and pit crews rallying in support of Bubba Wallace after an anonymous coward left a noose in the African-American driver's garage, couldn't help but make one wonder if maybe this time around, things are going to be different.

Message: racial hatred is for losers.

Boston Celtics great Bill Russell, a winner of eleven NBA championships, has been outspoken about racial justice all his life—even back when it was widely resented by sportswriters and fans. Today, at age 86, Russell writes of his hope that outrages like George Floyd's death "are forever behind us and that real, lasting change will finally be realized. Our lives depend on it."

Should that happen, Trump will be the last one to hear about it. Nothing outside the orbit of his engorged ego interests him. This is a guy who thinks people are wearing face masks during a viral pandemic to express their opposition to him. A ordinary sociopath would have understood that asking people to sign waivers agreeing not to file lawsuits if they got sick or died as a result of attending the Tulsa rally was no way to draw a crowd.

Indeed, it's a testimony to the Trump Cult's hold over his perfervid "base" that anybody showed up at all. After all, the greatest country song about the city is about "livin' on Tulsa time." Not dyin'.

(There's another wonderful song called "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma," but it's about homesickness. And tractors.)

So was Trump joking or was he deadly serious when he told supporters at the Tulsa event that he'd ordered "his people" to cut back on Covid-19 testing? Perhaps because she recognized that actually giving such an order would have indicated a depraved indifference to human life, the press secretary I call Dollar General Barbie—a Harvard Law graduate costumed as a country singer—told reporters that her boss was pulling our collective leg.

A real kidder, Boss Trump.

The man himself, however, insists that he was dead serious. "Cases are going up in the U.S." he tweeted on June 23, "because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!"

People would still be sick, see, but nobody would know it. Good for Trump, bad for everybody else. Or so he must imagine, because he's really not all that plugged in to reality.

Faced with a choice between Trump as sadist and Trump as liar, the White House is going with liar for now.

So far, there's no evidence he's actually ordered anybody to fudge the data. But the election campaign's only getting started.

#EndorseThis: Sarah Cooper's Tulsa Takedown Is Final

Perhaps we should move on from Trump's comeback rally in Tulsa -- which turned out so poorly for him and his campaign yet so well for the nation and the world. We enjoyed the boasting by his campaign manager Brad Parscale, the tiny crowd that actually showed up, the saga of the TikTok and K-pop kids who gamed the ticketing, and Trump's dejected return to the White House. But it's over now, right?

Well. almost over: The final commentary on this fiasco is owned by comedian Sarah Cooper, who delivers her performance using Trump's own words as usual.

How To Empty Seat is so short and yet so sweet.



Tulsa Showed Us The Best Path Toward November

What didn't happen in Tulsa last weekend was gratifying and a relief. The protests against racism were overwhelmingly orderly. President Donald Trump's rally also proceeded without serious incident and, notably, without much of an audience.

And this didn't happen for lack of provocation. Trying to whip up excitement for his revived rally schedule, Trump started the weekend with a bloodcurdling threat against protesters should they step out of line. Oklahomans, he opined, would not treat protestors in Tulsa with the same delicacy allegedly afforded those in liberal New York, Seattle and Minneapolis. The tweet doubled the offense by lumping protesters with "anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes."

Read Now Show less

GOP Donors And Legislators Freaking Over Tulsa Rally Flop

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

President Donald Trump's June 20 MAGA rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was expected to draw more than 19,000 people. But according to the Tulsa Fire Department, fewer than 6200 people attended. Trump's campaign has disputed that number, yet the fact is that the rally wasn't nearly as well-attended as the president hoped it would be. Reporters Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni examine the possible reasons for the poor attendance in an article for the New York Times.

During the rally, the Times journalists explain, Trump gave a "meandering performance in which he excoriated the 'fake news' for reporting on health concerns before his event, used racist language to describe the coronavirus as the 'kung flu' and spent more than 15 minutes explaining away an unflattering video clip of him gingerly descending a ramp after his commencement speech at West Point."

When Trump saw the size of the crowd and all the empty rows inside the arena, Haberman and Karni note, he was "stunned" and "yelled at aides backstage while looking at the endless rows of empty blue seats in the upper bowl of the stadium, according to four people familiar with what took place."

Trump supporters have offered a variety of reasons for the low turnout. Some have claimed that anti-Trump protestors outside the area discouraged people who had registered from going inside; others have claimed that fans of K-pop (a type of pop music from South Korea) trolled the event. And Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manager, blamed the media. Parscale asserted, "The fact is that a week's worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protesters, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally."

According to Haberman and Karni, "Several White House officials called the rally a disaster, and an unforced error that heightened tensions among some of the president's government advisers and his campaign aides…. The campaign had hoped to use the Tulsa event as a reset after the president's slide in the polls in the wake of his administration's failures responding to the coronavirus, and after his stoking of racial tensions amid nationwide protests over police brutality prompted by the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis."

The outdoor stage for @realDonaldTrump's Rally in Tulsa being built.
This will be the 1st time that POTUS speaks to BOTH crowds in person – inside & outside.
If you come to the rally and don't get into the BOK Center before it's full, you can still see the President in person! pic.twitter.com/7hoLFgzvLA
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 20, 2020

Parscale claimed that the mainstream media went out of their way to frighten people away from the event because of coronavirus. But as Haberman and Karni point out, the fear of being infected with coronavirus was a perfectly legitimate concern — especially for Trump's older supporters. And the fact that so many people were sitting close together in an indoor environment without wearing masks is certainly troubling.

The Lament of Brad Parscale, After Being Fired by Donald Trump
There once was a grifter named Brad
Who after Tulsa was feeling sad.
The crowd had been crappy,
His boss very unhappy–
For Brad no more Ferraris to be had!
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 20, 2020

Haberman and Karni note that since the rally, Trump's campaign has been "fielding calls from nervous donors and Republican lawmakers, who were asking whether the poorly attended rally indicated problems that were too big to fix with just over four months until Election Day." And they conclude their article by wondering if there will be some firings on Trump's campaign.

It was "not clear if there would be a personnel switch because of the disastrous optics, but some officials recalled what happened in 2017, after an event in Arizona that did not go as Mr. Trump had hoped," Haberman and Karni explain. "George Gigicos, one of the original campaign hands and his rally organizer, was fired by the president."