Amid pressure to cancel Tulsa rally, Trump says attempt to ‘COVID shame’ him ‘won’t work’

President Donald Trump is still taking heat over his plans to host a campaign rally in Oklahoma this weekend — and this time, the criticism is coming directly from Tulsa city officials.

But even as they beg the president to cancel his Saturday rally in light of concerns about the coronavirus, Trump insisted in a tweet this week that attempts to “COVID shame” him “won’t work.”

The president wrote Monday:

Concerns over COVID

Oklahoma is one of the more than two dozen states that haven’t been hit as hard by COVID-19. As such, it was one of the first states to start reopening in the wake of the pandemic.

As expected, coronavirus cases have risen since the phased reopening began — but the state is still far behind many others. As of Wednesday, the state had seen a total of 8,904 confirmed cases and 364 deaths since the outbreak began, according to The New York Times; meanwhile, New York state has seen nearly 400,000 cases and more than 31,000 deaths, the Times reports.

Still, cases are rising in Oklahoma, concerning officials who the Times says are pleading with Trump to cancel his rally.

“There’s just nothing good about this, and particularly in an enclosed arena,” Karen Keith, the Tulsa County Commissioner, told The New York Times. “I don’t want people to lose a parent. I don’t want them to lose a grandma. I don’t want them to lose a family member over this.”

Not stopping Trump

Trump, for his part, has missed the campaign trail — and his supporters have clearly missed him. Forbes reports that as many as 800,000 have requested tickets for the Tulsa event, though the venue only holds around 20,000.

As a precaution, the Trump campaign will be supplying masks and hand sanitizer at the event, according to NBC News. Rallygoers will also have to undergo a non-contact temperature check.

Still, some have expressed concern about asymptomatic carriers. “That virus, I guarantee you, will be present at the event — someone will bring it,” infectious diseases expert Dr. William Schaffner told The New York Times. He added:

The COVID virus knows no political affiliation. What it does love is large groups, indoors, close to each other for prolonged periods of time, chanting and yelling.

Despite the risk, it seems Trump and his supporters won’t be deterred. Let the show go on.

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