Friday, June 19, 2020

Could They Be Any Dumber in Oklahoma?

The Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected a bid to stop President Trump’s rally, and Tulsa rescinded its curfew.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday afternoon rejected a legal bid to stop President Trump from holding a rally in Tulsa over the weekend, the latest twist in the lead-up to a rally that has become a flash point as the country grapples with the coronavirus crisis and intensifying calls for racial justice.
The lawsuit, filed by local residents and businesses, had demanded that the event be postponed unless the arena hosting it agreed to enforce social distancing guidelines.
The rally, Mr. Trump’s first since the coronavirus pandemic began, comes as coronavirus cases are rising in Tulsa and as the nation celebrates Juneteenth, a holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States.
The holiday has taken on an added significance for many this year as the country grapples with its racist history, a legacy of violence that is painfully significant in Tulsa, the site of a 1921 race massacre in which up to 300 people were killed and hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed when a white mob attacked the historic black neighborhood.

A series of tweets by Mr. Trump threatened to escalate tensions on Friday, adding divisive rhetoric to the Juneteenth holiday.
Mr. Trump on Friday morning issued a thinly veiled threat to people who want to protest his campaign rally, scheduled for Saturday evening. “Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “It will be a much different scene!”
Mr. Trump drew no distinction between peaceful protesters, whose right to assemble and speak out is protected by the First Amendment, and violent looters, some of whom were responsible for vandalism and fires that broke out during mass protests across the country where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to express outrage over the killing of George Floyd. Afterward, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, told reporters that the president did not mean to threaten peaceful protesters. “What he was meaning are violent protesters,” she said.
By Friday afternoon, a representative for Mayor G.T. Bynum of Tulsa said the city had rescinded a three-night curfew, after Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he had spoken with the mayor, “who informed me there will be no curfew tonight or tomorrow for our many supporters.”
The announcement represented a chaotic about-face from the previous plans, which were apparently still underway with the police department, which said it had still been planning on enforcing a curfew in the area around the BOK Center, where the rally will be held. After Mr. Trump’s tweet, the mayor’s office said the curfew had been rescinded.
Mr. Bynum, a moderate Republican mayor who is friendly with the Trump campaign, has said he was “grateful” Tulsa was chosen as the host city for Mr. Trump’s comeback rally. He previously said the order was put in place because he had received information that showed that “individuals from organized groups who have been involved in destructive and violent behavior” elsewhere were planning to travel to Tulsa “for purposes of causing unrest around the rally.”

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