The editorial board of Tulsa, Oklahoma's largest daily newspaper on Monday slammed President Donald Trump's planned June 20 campaign rally as a poorly timed and badly located event that risks undermining the city's fight against Covid-19 and dangerously inflaming street protests over police brutality.
"Tulsa is still dealing with the challenges created by a pandemic," reads an editorial published Monday in the Tulsa World. "The city and state have authorized reopening, but that doesn't make a mass indoor gathering of people pressed closely together and cheering a good idea. There is no treatment for Covid-19 and no vaccine. It will be our healthcare system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow."
"We don't know why he chose Tulsa," the editorial states, "but we can't see any way that his visit will be good for the city."
The president's campaign rally was initially scheduled to take place on Juneteenth — the June 19 holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States — but Trump pushed the rally back by one day in the face of widespread backlash.
The Tulsa World editorial came just days after the director of the city's health department called on Trump to postpone the rally "to a time when the virus isn't as large a concern as it is today."
"Covid is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently," said Dr. Bruce Dart.
The Trump campaign effectively acknowledged that the event poses a significant public health risk by requiring prospective attendees to sign a waiver vowing not to sue if they contract Covid-19 at the rally.
In addition to criticizing the hazardous timing of the campaign event, the Tulsa Worldeditorial board also noted that "Trump will be rallying in a city that 99 years ago was the site of a bloody race massacre."
"Tulsa and the nation remain on edge after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Trump, a divisive figure, will attract protests, the vast majority of which we expect to be peaceful. But there may also be confrontation and inappropriate behavior from some," the editorial reads. "Again, Tulsa will be largely alone in dealing with what happens at a time when the city's budget resources have already been stretched thin."
"This is the wrong place for the rally," the editorial states in closing. "When the president of the United States visits your city, it should be exciting. We think a Trump visit will be, but for a lot of the wrong reasons, and we can't welcome it."