The media are claiming that public health officials blamed President Donald Trump’s campaign rally last month in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a local surge in coronavirus cases — even though they never did so, and there were other large public events.
The Associated Press ran the headline: “Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge.”
But the story itself notes that Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said that there were “several large events,” and never explicitly singled out the Trump rally:
Tulsa County reported 261 confirmed new cases on Monday, a one-day record high, and another 206 cases on Tuesday.
Although the health department’s policy is to not publicly identify individual settings where people may have contracted the virus, Dart said those large gatherings “more than likely” contributed to the spike.
“In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots,” Dart said.
The video of the press conference confirms that Dart stopped short of blaming the Trump rally explicitly.
In addition to Black Lives Matter protests outside the Trump rally, there were also protests earlier in the month.
And there was also a large rally for Juneteenth the day before the Trump rally, headlined by Al Sharpton — a fact that the AP story fails to mention.
From the USA Today on June 19:
About a mile away from the arena where President Trump will hold a Saturday rally, the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke to a field filled with people on the campus of Oklahoma State University – Tulsa, near where the city’s infamous 1921 race massacre took place.
Sharpton, one of several speakers for this year’s Juneteenth celebration in Tulsa, said “they tell their children that Lincoln freed the slaves. The fact is the slaves freed Lincoln.” He also rejected claims that protesters for the Black Lives Matter movement were violent.
“We are not violent, we’re fighting violence,” he said to the crowd.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, when asked about the Tulsa public health official’s report at a press briefing, reiterated that the president and his team had followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
Author: Joel B. Pollak