President Donald Trump’s signature campaign rallies are back in business, after a gap of more than three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump announced on Wednesday that his reelection campaign would be holding a rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 19 and would also be holding rallies in Florida, Texas and Arizona — as well as an event in North Carolina “at an appropriate time.”
The president made the announcement at a roundtable with African American leaders at the White House, hailing the “great job” that Oklahoma has done combating coronavirus. As of Tuesday, Oklahoma had recorded 353 coronavirus deaths and 7,363 positive cases.
The Tulsa rally next week will be held on Juneteenth, a national commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S.
Trump’s last campaign rally was on March 2 in Charlotte, N.C. For the past three months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended against large gatherings of people, hindering the Trump campaign’s desire to hold events filled with dedicated supporters of the president.
POLITICO reported earlier this week that Trump advisers believe that the recent mass protests against police brutality in cities across the country will make it harder for liberals to criticize Trump rallies taking place.
The president did not mention any safety precautions or restrictions that the campaign would take during the upcoming events.
The resumption of Trump rallies contrasts with former Vice President Joe Biden’s approach to campaigning. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has largely been confined to his Delaware home during the pandemic.
Since Memorial Day, Biden has exited his home more frequently, notably visiting protests in Wilmington, Del., and delivering a speech on race relations in Philadelphia. He also traveled to Houston on Monday to visit with the family of George Floyd, the African American man whose death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis has led to the recent protests.
Biden is opening up a substantial lead on Trump in national polling, with the former vice president leading by an average of more than 8 percentage points, according to RealClear Politics.
The Biden campaign on Wednesday evening criticized Trump and the timing and location of next week’s rally.
“Do some research on #Juneteenth and the racial violence that took place in Oklahoma known as the Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921,” Kamau Marshall, the campaign’s director of strategic communications, wrote on Twitter.