President Trump arrives at a campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
President Trump addressed thousands who gathered for his smaller-than-expected rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, calling the crowd "warriors."
Driving the news: The event was originally billed as a massive gathering that could attract tens of thousands outside as well as inside the 19,000-capacity arena. But the larger crowds didn't materialize and Trump and Vice President Mike Pence canceled plans for outdoor speeches.
- Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesperson, blamed protesters for interrupting the plans and attempting to "frighten off" Trump supporters. "Sadly, protesters interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally," he said.
The big picture: Trump told the Wall Street Journal before the rally that he saw the event as the real start of his 2020 campaigning. Oklahoma has seen a 91% jump in its coronavirus cases over the past week. The highest concentration of the state's infections are in Tulsa county, per the state's health department.
Background: A peaceful protester, demonstrating by silently sitting and wearing an "I Can't Breathe" shirt in a secure outdoor area for rally-goers, was arrested Saturday afternoon at the request of the Trump campaign, the Tulsa police department confirmed. The protester was in a section of the event accessible only to ticket holders, the police department said.
- Six Trump staffers, who were part of the campaign's advance team Saturday rally, have been quarantined after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the campaign told Axios.
- Face masks were handed out to rally-goers as they entered the event, but wearing them was not enforced, the New York Times' Astead Herndon reports. Social distancing markers were used at rally entrances, but social distancing was not required for attendees inside the event. Temperature checks were given for those entering the rally.
- Trump specified that face coverings at the event are optional, telling Axios' Jonathan Swan on Friday: "I recommend people do what they want."
- 250 Oklahoma National Guard members worked with local police and the state highway patrol to monitor the rally.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.