Trump threatens protesters ahead of Tulsa rally
President Donald Trump threatened to crack down on protesters expected to show up at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, the first such event since the coronavirus pandemic sidelined his campaign schedule.
“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,” Trump tweeted on Friday. “It will be a much different scene!”
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said Trump was referring to “destructive” protesters, noting that buildings have been burned, looted, and vandalized during recent demonstrations against police brutality.
“These things are unacceptable,” she said. “And we will not see that in Oklahoma.”
The president’s tweet came hours after Tulsa mayor G. T. Bynum imposed a curfew, citing expected rally crowds of more than 100,000, planned protests and the civil unrest that has already erupted in the city and around the nation this month.
Trump drew widespread and bipartisan criticism for his last interaction with protesters, when U.S. Park Police and other law enforcement agencies used force to clear Lafayette Square near the White House so the president could pose with a Bible in front of the historic St. John’s Church.
The latest threat also drew fire.
William Kristol, former editor of The Weekly Standard, posted on Twitter that the constitutional right “of protesters are the same in Tulsa as elsewhere in the US. So are the 1A rights of Trump supporters. It’s up to OK and Tulsa authorities to follow the law and protect all citizens. But what Trump’s doing is inciting his followers to extra-legal action.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Trump of “threatening peaceful protesters standing up for justice.”