It’s me or the left radicals, Trump warns supporters at election rally

It’s me or the left radicals, Trump warns supporters at election rally, by Kevin Freking.

President Donald Trump has launched his comeback rally by defining the US election as a stark choice between national heritage and left-wing radicalism.

But his intended show of political force in Tulsa, Oklahoma, amid a pandemic featured thousands of empty seats and new coronavirus cases on his own campaign staff.

Mr Trump ignored health warnings to hold his first rally in 110 days — one of the largest indoor gatherings in the world during a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 120,000 Americans and put 40 million out of work. The rally on Saturday (Sunday AEST) was meant to restart his re-election effort less than five months before the President faces voters again.

“The choice in 2020 is very simple,” Mr Trump said. “Do you want to bow before the left-wing mob, or do you want to stand up tall and proud as Americans?” …

When Mr Trump thundered that “the silent majority is stronger than ever before”, about a third of the seats at his indoor rally were empty. He tried to explain away the crowd size by blaming the media for scaring people and by insisting there were protesters outside who were “doing bad things”. But the small crowds of pre-rally demonstrators were largely peaceful, and Tulsa police reported just one arrest.

Before the rally, Mr Trump’s campaign revealed that six staff members who were helping set up for the event had tested positive for the coronavirus. Campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said neither the affected staffers nor anyone who was in immediate contact with them would attend the event. The President raged to aides that the staffers’ positive cases had been made public, according to two White House and campaign officials. …

City officials had expected a crowd of 100,000 people or more in downtown Tulsa. The Trump campaign said it had received over a million ticket requests. The crowd that gathered was far less than that.