President Trump during a rally on March 2, 2020. Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

President Trump's campaign will require temperature checks and will distribute face masks and hand sanitizer to each person attending his rally in Tulsa on Saturday, a spokesperson said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision to move ahead with the rally as the number of coronavirus infections continues to be on the rise in many states has prompted scrutiny from public health experts and local officials in Tulsa. It will be the first rally by any presidential candidate since the pandemic was declared in March.

  • Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said Monday that masks would be optional, telling Fox News: "The American people can make decisions for themselves, we're all pretty informed about Covid at this point."
  • Trump tweeted earlier Monday: "The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!"

What they're saying:

“The campaign takes the health and safety of rally-goers seriously and is taking precautions to make the rally safe. Every single rally goer will have their temperature checked, be provided a face mask and hand sanitizer. We are also taking precautions to keep rally-goers safe in the Oklahoma heat — including providing water bottles to keep people hydrated.
— Erin Perrine, deputy communications director for the Trump campaign

Between the lines: Two of Trump's recent high-dollar fundraisers had more rigorous safety precautions for top Republican donors than the rally will, including requiring a negative coronavirus test, a wellness questionnaire and temperature checks, NBC News reports.

  • Tulsa City-County Health Department director Bruce Dart told Tulsa World that he wishes Trump would postpone the rally, citing a "significant increase" in coronavirus case trends that could put both the public and Trump himself at risk.
  • There's also expected to be a heat wave in Tulsa, which may complicate temperature readings, according to NBC.

Go deeper ... Tulsa World editorial: "Wrong time" and "wrong place" for Trump rally

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