President Donald Trump

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa in late June that drew thousands of participants and large protests “likely contributed” to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.

Chris Polansky / KWGS

Black community leaders in Tulsa, including one of Mayor G.T. Bynum's opponents in the upcoming election, made one final call Saturday for President Trump's campaign rally later that night to be canceled.

They said the president's visit was emboldening his supporters, citing threats made against speakers at the Juneteenth celebration on Greenwood and north Tulsa residents harassed by people with Trump 2020 flags on their vehicles.

Rev. Robert Turner of Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church said Trump's presence was divisive for a city that was trying to move forward.

KGOU

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, pressing ahead in a pandemic even as campaign staff tested positive for the coronavirus, looked to reverse a decline in his political fortunes by returning Saturday to the format that so often has energized him and his loyal supporters: a raucous, no-holds-barred rally before tens of thousands of ardent fans, this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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The Oklahoma Democratic Party addressed President Trump’s Tulsa campaign rally, which will happen Saturday night.

Chair Alicia Andrews said the president has gone from saying it’s about Oklahoma’s COVID numbers to saying it’s about celebrating Juneteenth, and she’s not sure what the real reason is.

"And frankly, no one wants him to celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth also marks the fact that slaveholders benefitted from two and a half more years of free labor. We get to celebrate the end of chattel slavery. The celebration is not for the oppressor," Andrews said.

As new COVID-19 infections skyrocket in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt defended Saturday's Trump campaign rally in Tulsa.

Appearing on Fox News on Friday, Stitt was asked how he responds to public health officials who have said the rally should be postponed.

North Peoria Church of Christ

Black Tulsa clergymen said Friday they have sent President Trump a letter demanding he institute nationwide police reforms.

The steps they are calling for include civilian oversight boards for most local police departments, national policing and training standards, and background checks that identify ties to hate groups.

The Rev. Rodney Goss said the Black community is not afraid, they are tired.

The Oklahoma Public Media Exchange as part of Oklahoma Engaged is continuing to cover the developing story around Juneteenth celebrations, Donald Trump's rally and protests in Tulsa from June 19-21, 2020. Bookmark this page for the latest updates.

Odell Architecture

Updated June 18, 6:55 p.m. to include a statement from the mayor's office.  

The authority that oversees City of Tulsa–owned venues does not believe it can move Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

Despite concerns about filling a 19,000-seat arena in the middle of a spike in COVID-19 cases, members of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority concluded they don’t have power to cancel contracts entered into by ASM Global, the company that manages the BOK Center.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

A new nationwide survey estimates that only seven states in the country are currently adequately staffed with contact tracers to manage the novel coronavirus.

Oklahoma is not one of them.

The NPR analysis found that only Alaska, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have enough active contact tracers. Six other states have enough if counting reserve staff. 

Oklahoma National Guard

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — As many as 250 Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers are being activated to help provide security during President Donald Trump’s campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, authorities said Wednesday.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said the guardsmen will be used as a “force multiplier” to help secure safety zones around the downtown BOK Center where the rally is to be held.

The guardsmen will be unarmed but will carry shields, batons and pepper spray in case they need to protect themselves, said Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Geoff Legler.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Speaking just minutes after the director of the Tulsa Health Department reiterated his belief that the president's reelection rally this week should be postponed due to surging coronavirus numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, Mayor G.T. Bynum said at a press conference Wednesday that while he can't guarantee anyone's safety, he will not act to prevent the rally from taking place.

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission

Gov. Kevin Stitt said on Wednesday President Donald Trump’s potential visit to the Greenwood District ahead of his campaign rally this weekend is "in flux."

"I don’t know if the president is going to go to the Greenwood District now. It was a request that I made early but because of the Juneteenth celebration, with the Secret Service it could be problematic to have the president go there because some things have to be disrupted and shut down for a presidential visit," Stitt said.

A group of Tulsa attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday to force the use of coronavirus safety measures at the BOK Center during President Trump’s Saturday campaign rally, but a judge denied their requests for a temporary injunction and expedited hearing hours later.

Attorney Clark Brewster said filling a 19,000-seat arena with screaming fans of the president during a surge in new COVID-19 cases but not requiring them to wear masks has the makings of a super-spreader event.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For most mayors in deep-red states like Oklahoma, the prospect of hosting the first rally for President Donald Trump in months would be a delight. It would showcase the city on an international stage and draw revenue for local businesses that have been shuttered for months amid the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Sen. James Lankford

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) spoke with KWGS News' Chris Polansky on Monday, June 15th, about police reform following last month's killing of George Floyd, Black Tulsans' outrage over President Trump's initial Juneteenth date for a Tulsa rally (and his role in getting it changed), whether he thinks the rally should continue despite warnings from local and federal public health experts, and whether he intends to wear a mask to the rally.

Full transcript:

Black community and political leaders are calling on President Donald Trump to at least change the date of an Oklahoma rally kick-starting his return to public campaigning, saying that holding the event on Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in America, is a “slap in the face.”

Trump campaign officials discussed in advance the possible reaction to the Juneteenth date, but there are no plans to change it despite fierce blowback.

President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa next Friday will be downtown at the BOK Center.

It will start at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 4 p.m.

It’s likely several streets in the area will be closed. Tulsa Police expect protests and warn there’s the potential for people to join peaceful demonstrations in order to commit crimes.

The decision to hold the rally on Juneteenth, a day celebrating the end of slavery, has drawn strong criticism from black Tulsans. 

Wikimedia

President Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail next week with a rally here in Tulsa.

A location has not been announced, but it will be June 19, which is also Juneteenth, a day commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation and one that's significant to a city with a history marred by one of the nation's biggest acts of violence against black Americans.

Trump will follow his Tulsa rally with events in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

ARLP

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge threw out a lawsuit on Friday from a coalition of states, environmental groups and American Indians which sought to revive an Obama-era moratorium against U.S. government coal sales on public lands in the West.

Flickr / Joseph Novak, licensed under CC BY 2.0

An executive order signed by President Trump on Tuesday could mean some support for the nation's — and Oklahoma's — beleaguered meat industry as it weathers the coronavirus pandemic.

Justin Russell on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

In a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt requested that the White House declare an "Act of God," a legal maneuver the governor said is "a necessary step to encourage and support those operators who choose to stop production until demand returns and storage becomes readily available." 

Oil and gas industry insiders are split on whether that's true. 

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington

Oklahoma has already begun reopening following a plan by Governor Kevin Stitt, but a team of health researchers estimate that the state is still over 50 days away from the earliest date when it would be safe to ease restrictions intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Marco Verch on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- State and local governments across the United States have obtained about 30 million doses of a malaria drug touted by President Trump to treat patients with the coronavirus, despite warnings from doctors that more research is needed. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The White House has told governors their leadership is critical in testing for coronavirus and provided a map showing that Oklahoma is one of four states with the lowest testing capacity in the United States.

Our guest on StudioTulsa, Erica Etelson, is a writer, community activist, and certified Powerful Non-Defensive Communication facilitator. A former human rights attorney, she is also the author of a new book, "Beyond Contempt: How Liberals Can Communicate Across the Great Divide." This book aims to show left-leaning U.S. citizens of all sorts how to communicate respectfully, passionately, and effectively across the current political divide without understating or downplaying one's beliefs and ideas.

PHOTO BY CNN.COM

Our guest is Dr. Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Professor at the University of Oklahoma's College of International Studies. He recently gave an address at the Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations (or TCFR) titled "The U.S. and the Middle East: Making Sense of Oil, Regime Change, and Forever Wars." Dr. Landis also writes "Syria Comment," a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts 100,000 readers per month -- and he often consults with U.S.

Our guest is the noted psychiatrist and historian Robert Jay Lifton; he's written more than twenty books, including the National Book Award-winning "Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima" as well as "The Nazi Doctors." He joins us to discuss his new book, which is just out.

All of Washington, DC -- indeed, all of American politics -- has been in a frenzy ever since a whistleblower's complaint came to light, only a couple of weeks ago, regarding President Trump's July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Information about this call prompted House Democrats to begin their impeachment inquiry of the President, and now a second whistleblower is apparently coming forward (as well as, possibly, a third). On ST today, we look back on the history of whistleblowers in America. Our guest is Prof.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization plays a much different role in the world today than it did when it was originally established in 1949. But what exactly is the role of NATO now? Our guest is Dr. Rajan Menon, Professor of International Relations at the City College of New York. He was a guest recently of the Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations, where he spoke on "NATO Goes Global: A Look at the Record." Dr. Menon has been a Fellow at the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs and at the New America Foundation.

Our guest on ST is James Poniewozik, the chief TV critic at The New York Times. He joins us to discuss his widely hailed new book, "Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America." As was noted of this incisive work of cultural criticism and American history in the pages of Bookforum: "The smartest, most original, most unexpectedly definitive account of the rise of Trump and Trumpism we've had so far.

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