Trump campaign accused of removing social distancing signs at Tulsa rally

As if Trump's Tulsa rally last weekend wasn't controversial enough, it's now been revealed that his campaign may be responsible for the lack of social distancing.

All this presumably to make the president look more popular than he actually is – even if it risked people's lives.

The Bank of Okahoma Centre (BOK) in Tulsa reportedly had stickers that said "Do Not Sit Here, Please!" on a number of seats as part of a programme intended to maintain social distancing while at the venue.

But according to Doug Thornton, vice president of the company that manages the BOK Centre, Trump's campaign staff asked the venue not to use the labels.

Speaking to Billboard, Thornton saaid:

They also told us that they didn't want any signs posted saying we should social distance in the venue. The campaign went through and removed the stickers.

Video obtained by The Washington Post appears to show two men removing the stickers from the seats, in direct contradiction of the instructions.

Trump was already facing criticism in the run-up to the rally, partly because it coincided with Juneteenth weekend – a date to celebrate the end of slavery in America – and its location in Tulsa, which was home to one the 1921 massacre in which mobs of white residents attacked Black people and businesses in what is considered to be the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.

Aside from the racial insensitivity of the rally, there were also warnings about the rise in coronavirus cases in the county, making an event with huge crowds incredibly irresponsible.

The safety plan – which included the stickers – was put in place to try and avoid transmission of the virus. The stickers were reportedly placed on every other seat to keep people apart.

Fox News published a photo showing the stickers being added to the seats, yet photos and footage of the rally don't show them.

When asked to respond to the allegations, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh wrote:

The rally was in full compliance with local requirements. In addition, every rally attendee received a temperature check prior to admission, was given a face mask, and provided ample access to hand sanitiser.

The campaign added that: "There were signs posted and we are not aware of any campaign staff asking that they be removed."

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