President Donald Trump roared back onto the campaign trail Saturday night with a rally before thousands of supporters in Tulsa, Okla., using the fiery and freewheeling appearance to mock Democratic foe Joe Biden, criticize those tearing down monuments to controversial historical figures and decry what he described as the “disaster” demonstration in Seattle.
The rally, his first in months, comes amid prolonged concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide outcry over racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death. Before an enthusiastic and placard-waving crowd -- in an arena that still had visible empty seats despite expectations of a packed house -- Trump described his party as one of equality and justice but also hammered a "law and order" message in response to those protests that escalated into violence.
Trump specifically tore into the occupation of several blocks in Seattle by left-wing protesters, which covers an abandoned police precinct, saying it is an example of the "radical left." The occupants, whom Trump described as "anarchists," call their area the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, or CHOP.
"We're not talking about some little place, we're talking about Seattle," Trump said, criticizing the Democratic officials in Seattle and Washington state. He said he had a standing offer that "any time you want, we'll come in" and straighten out the issues in Seattle "in an hour or less."
But, he said: "I may be wrong, but it's probably better for us to just watch that disaster."
Trump added that a congressman on the flight to the rally told him he shouldn't step in to end the CHOP occupation in order to let people see "what radical left Democrats will do to our country."
He also cited "radicals" that targeted statues of Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Columbus in recent days and said that a law should be passed that burning the American flag results in a year in jail. While touting his chances in November, Trump repeatedly used examples of protesters tearing down monuments and the Seattle CHOP zone as a foil for his “law and order” theme -- while insisting Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, would always "cave" to such "radical" parts of his party.
“Do you want to bow before the left-wing mob or do you want to stand up tall and proud as Americans?” he asked at one point.
The rally's scathing tone, impromptu digressions and political broadsides reflected Trump slipping right back into his campaign element after the pandemic-induced hiatus. Trump also called a Boeing official a “dumb son of a b----,” in describing defence contract negotiations with the company. He said he eventually saved “like a billion six or a billion seven” in the negotiation.
Tulsa marked the president's first rally since early March, when both Trump and Biden cancelled in-person campaign events as the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis began to set in. But Trump, who for months has been itching to get the country's economy back to normal and get himself back in front of supporters at his rallies, is the first to resume large in-person events.
Trump also claimed Saturday that the "silent majority is stronger than ever" and touted Republicans as the "party of Abraham Lincoln" and "law and order," in comments appearing to indicate how he will frame his re-election campaign as the November election approaches.
Trump made the declarations at Tulsa's BOK Center -- which itself became an epicentre of controversy amid protests outside and lingering concerns over the potential coronavirus risk of holding the rally.
In advance of the Saturday event, Trump supporters had been lining up for days to secure their seat in an arena that holds just under 20,000, and the Trump campaign touted Monday receiving over 1 million ticket requests.
Nevertheless, there were a number of empty seats on the upper levels inside. The campaign nixed plans for Trump to address an overflow crowd at the beginning. In the arena, Trump accused the media of dissuading would-be participants. Campaign manager Brad Parscale, on Twitter, said, "Radical protestors, fuelled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally."
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. -- a frequent Trump target during the rally -- tweeted in response that "teens on TikTok" had made "fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID."
Source: Fox News
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