Trump Tulsa Rally Cancels Outdoor Overflow Speeches Due to Smaller Crowd

Getty A supporter sits in the upper seats during a campaign rally for U.S. President Donald Trump at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Although thousands are attending President Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally tonight, the turnout is still smaller than had been anticipated. Typically a large enough crowd arrives to necessitate an outdoor overflow rally of sorts in addition to the indoor event. The Trump campaign has announced that outside speeches are canceled for tonight. The campaign said this was in part due to protestors’ interference, but some local media said they did not observe the level of interference that would have stopped people from attending.

Here’s what you need to know.


Outdoor Overflow Speeches Were Canceled Due to Lower Turnout, but the Rest of the Rally Continues

Courtney Subramanian of USA Today tweeted that the campaign announced outdoor speeches were canceled.

Here’s the full statement from Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the campaign.

President Trump is rallying in Tulsa with thousands of energetic supporters, a stark contrast to the sleepy campaign being run by Joe Biden from his basement in Delaware. Sadly, protestors interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally. Radical protestors, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media, attempted to frighten off the President’s supporters. We are proud of the thousands who stuck it out.”

Subramanian noted that the press had witnessed small skirmishes outside before 5 p.m., but nothing that would have stopped people from being able to attend.

On Twitter, @AsteadWesley of The New York Times shared a video of the stadium as the program was about to begin, which you can see below. The rally doesn’t officially start until 7 p.m. Central, but some aspects of the program typically begin 90 minutes or so before the official start time. In the video, you can see the lower section of seats filled, but the upper level still mostly empty, along with a good portion of the “standing-room only” area on the floor.

Keaton Ross of Report4America also shared photos of the venue on Twitter.

He wrote: “Just over an hour to go until Trump is scheduled to speak, and the upper bowl is mostly empty. Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado, former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon have addressed the crowd in the past 30 minutes.”

About two-and-a-half hours before the rally began, Ross mentioned that only about 5% to 10% of the attendees appeared to be wearing masks.

The indoor portion of the rally continues and the people inside were still quite enthusiastic about the rest of the rally.

Getty

But 37 minutes before the rally, there were still plenty of seats available, Ross shared.


The Overflow Area Was Largely Empty

The overflow area was mostly empty. This is rare for a Trump rally. Vice President Mike Pence was supposed to speak, but that speech was canceled.

The outdoor area was completely empty in this photo.

Here’s another view of the outdoor overflow area before it emptied out. There were people there, but not many.

In this video below from Mike Simons of Tulsa World, you can see people able to enter the rally just fine when the barricades were opened. It appears attendees (at least in these videos and photos) weren’t wearing masks or social distancing while standing in line and getting ready to enter the venue.

Although the outdoor portion of the rally was canceled, the indoor event is still taking place and the lower section of the venue is mostly filled. Earlier in the day, before the rally began, Eric Trump shared a photo about the rally with a QAnon reference that he later deleted. You can see the photo here.

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