Jun 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Atlanta mayor tears into Trump: "That rally was an embarrassment"

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that President Trump's low-turnout rally in Tulsa on Saturday was "an embarrassment," denouncing the president for failing to address the racial tensions that have gripped the country over the last few weeks.

Why it matters: Bottoms, one of the candidates to be Joe Biden's running mate, is dealing firsthand with the fallout from the killing of a black man by police in her city of Atlanta. She accused Trump of using the rally to continue "to try and divide us" and employing rhetoric that "really inflames the worst in people."

What she's saying: "My first response was that I hope that this is a preview for November. That finally, people are recognizing that this man is a danger to our country, a danger to our democracy and he should not be the president of the United States of America," Bottoms said.

  • "The fact that he was even in Oklahoma during the Juneteenth celebration, the site of the worst racial massacre in this country's history, I mean, it speaks to who he his."
  • "No recognition and concern that where we are with COVID-19, and no concern about what it would mean for people who are gathering in these large numbers. He doesn't get it."

Addressing claims that Trump was joking when he said that he asked officials to slow down coronavirus testing, Bottoms responded: "This is no time to joke. Even if it were a joke, which it was not, it was an inappropriate joke. Do you think the people — the 120,000 families out there who are missing their loved ones — thought it was funny?"

The big picture: Saturday's rally was Trump's first in months after in-person campaigning was put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • He had predicted massive crowds and promised a "wild evening," but the event saw rows of empty seats and failed to fill its overflow spaces, causing Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to cancel their outdoor programming.
  • Trump has also drawn backlash for hosting the rally without social distancing requirements. The campaign did require temperature checks and provided masks, but did not require attendees to wear them.

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