by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Top Trump allies see Saturday’s rally in Tulsa as a chance to reset the campaign after two weeks of playing defense and reclaim attention from anti-police protests that have dominated weeks of news coverage.
They believe the president has suffered from not being able to connect with voters and that he is the best person to throw a negative spotlight back on to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. …
… The run-up to the event — the first rally since early March — has been fraught with controversy. The date has already been pushed back a day after the original date coincided with Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of U.S. slavery.
Critics also warned that filling the 19,000-capacity arena with a raucous, noisy crowd would create conditions perfect for the spread of the novel coronavirus.
At the weekend, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute Ashish Jha Sunday tweeted that an indoor event with thousands of people stationary for hours created a greater risk than outdoor protests. …
… Supporters must sign a coronavirus liability disclaimer to attend. And on Monday, the campaign said it would be taking temperatures at the entrance to the BOK Center and would distribute masks and hand sanitizer to attendees.
Deputy campaign communications director Erin Perrine said: “The campaign takes the health and safety of rallygoers seriously and is taking precautions to make the rally safe.”
But Jeanne Zaino, professor of political science at Iona College, said the risks suggested deep urgency for a reset after two weeks of declining poll numbers and negative headlines.
“He’s got to be personally miserable at being stuck in the White House or New Jersey at the weekend and not being able to get his voice out there,” she said.