President Trump, who revels in large crowds, had predicted his first rally in months in Tulsa would be epic.
He was looking to use it to bring momentum back to his re-election campaign, after coming under fire for his responses to the coronavirus and to the death of George Floyd.
And on Saturday night (20 June) he criticized some of the recent protests.
"The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone not conform to their demands for absolute and total control.
We're not conforming.
That's why we're here, actually." Trump cited bad behavior by demonstrators outside for the lower attendance.
But also said the media had discouraged attendees over coronavirus fears.
Only a handful of those inside the arena wore masks.
But there were many empty seats among the 19,000 on offer.
"We begin our campaign and you just want to thank all of you, you are warriors.
I've been watching, I've been watching the fake news for weeks now and everything is negative: 'Don't go.
Don't do anything.'
Today it was like I've never seen anything like it.
I've never seen anything like it.
You are warriors.
Thank you.” Hours before the rally, Trump's campaign announced six members of its advance team had tested positive for COVID-19.
But he defended his response to the pandemic, saying that more testing had simply led to identifying more cases.
"They call me, they said the job you're doing - here's the bad part.
When you test - when you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people; you're going to find more cases.
So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please." "And despite the fact that we- I - have done a phenomenal job with it.
I shut down the United States to very heavily infected, but all people from China in late January, which is months earlier than other people would have done it if they would have done it at all.
I saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
We don't ever get even a mention." And Trump, who has previously been accused of racism in labeling the coronavirus pandemic "the Chinese virus", said the disease had "more names than any in history".
"I can name 'Kung Flu' - I can name 19 different versions of names." The Republican president is trailing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, in polls ahead of the November election.
Trump warned unless he was re-elected, all Americans would endure quote “the chaos you're seeing in our Democratic-run cities."
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