HomePoliticsTrump’s Tulsa Rally Attendance: 6,200, Fire Dept. Says

Trump’s Tulsa Rally Attendance: 6,200, Fire Dept. Says

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A rally fizzles, and Confederate monuments keep falling. It’s Monday, and this is your politics tip sheet.

  • 6,200. That was the total attendance at President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, according to the Fire Department. Before the event, his campaign manager had announced close to one million sign-ups, and the president was anticipating an overflow crowd. Instead, at his first major rally since the onset of the pandemic, Trump spoke to an arena that wasn’t even half full. He was stunned by the lack of turnout, advisers said.

  • Hundreds — if not thousands — of young people with no intention of actually attending the rally organized online to sign up for tickets as a prank, aiming to inflate turnout expectations. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter that the Trump campaign “just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok.” Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist turned Trump foe, tweeted: “The teens of America have struck a savage blow against @realDonaldTrump.”

  • Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had planned to give warm-up speeches to the overflow crowd outside, but ultimately there was none. Trump campaign officials sought to downplay the importance of all those empty arena seats (colored blue, in a poetic twist), saying that potential attendees had been scared off by the fear that protesters would confront them.

  • But on “Fox News Sunday,” the anchor Chris Wallace was hearing none of it. “He didn’t fill an arena last night,” Wallace told Mercedes Schlapp, a Trump campaign adviser. “Watching the coverage and talking to Mark Meredith on the ground today, protesters did not stop people from coming to that rally,” Wallace added, referring to a Fox correspondent.

  • Public health experts on Sunday flatly rejected Trump’s argument that the coronavirus is “fading away,” as he stated last week while seeking to ease fears in the run-up to his rally. Speaking on a variety of political talk shows, top academics and former government officials said there was no sign that the virus was meaningfully slowing its spread.

  • They warned that a more unified national policy was needed to contain it, and they rejected Trump’s suggestion that more testing had artificially inflated the number of confirmed cases.

  • “I don’t see this slowing down for the summer or into the fall,” Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think this is more like a forest fire,” he added. “I think that wherever there’s wood to burn, this fire is going to burn it.”

  • Joe Biden is deep into his search for a running mate, and The Times’s Alexander Burns has a new guide to the veepstakes out this morning, profiling a dozen women who are under serious consideration. Click here to see who’s near the top of the list.

  • The career-life expectancy of federal officials investigating Trump continues to fall. Trump on Saturday fired Geoffrey Berman, a federal prosecutor whose office has investigated some of the president’s closest associates. Recently Berman’s team had been turning up the heat in their investigation of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.

  • On Friday, William Barr, the attorney general, sought to oust Berman and replace him with a Trump ally. But Berman refused to resign from his position as the attorney for the Southern District of New York. That prompted Trump to fire him, while appearing to offer a concession: For now, Berman will be replaced by his own deputy, Audrey Strauss.

  • In a statement, Berman said he felt confident that Strauss “will continue to safeguard” the Southern District of New York’s “enduring tradition of integrity and independence.”

  • In what could be a preview of things to come in Washington, negotiations in the Minnesota State Legislature over sweeping police reform fell apart on Saturday. The Democratic-controlled House had passed a bill that would increase police accountability; give Keith Ellison, the state’s Democratic attorney general, the power to prosecute police killings; and restore voting rights to tens of thousands of convicted felons.

  • But Republicans argued that it went too far, and proposed a less-ambitious bill including what they called “common-sense police reforms.” Democrats said most of those proposals were already in place in most Minnesota police departments. At an impasse, the Legislature adjourned early Saturday morning after Republicans refused to keep negotiating.

  • Tim Walz, the Democratic governor, faulted them for failing to work out a deal. “I’m really, really worried the message this sends to all those tens of thousands of protesters who were on the streets, all those families and all those people across Minnesota and across the country that expected this one was going to be different,” Walz said.

  • At protests around the country, monuments and homages to figures associated with the legacy of white supremacy are being taken down at a rapid clip. Sometimes they’re defaced or torn down by protesters, and sometimes they’re removed on official orders. In Raleigh, N.C., Roy Cooper, the Democratic governor, ordered a number of Confederate monuments removed from the State Capitol grounds over the weekend.

  • The American Museum of Natural History and the New York City government have agreed to remove a statue from the museum’s entrance featuring Theodore Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by a Native American man and an African man.

  • Where do monuments go once they’ve been taken down by officials? As of late last week, 106 Confederate symbols and monuments had been ordered removed since 2015; most end up in storage, according to a representative of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

President Trump at Tulsa’s BOK Center, which can seat 19,000, but didn’t on Saturday night.

Joe Biden is not typically thought of as a progressive agitator, but in recent years he has accrued a reputation as something of a champion of L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

That wasn’t always so: As Adam Nagourney and Thomas Kaplan write in a new article, Biden typically voted with most fellow Democrats during his decades in the Senate, which sometimes meant casting votes that now appear retrograde in today’s Democratic Party.

Adam agreed to answer a few questions for us about how Biden’s positions have evolved — and what gay-rights activists expect from a possible Biden administration.

Hi, Adam. If you were to look only at Joe Biden’s Senate record, you wouldn’t get the sense that he was a big leader on L.G.B.T.Q. issues. But in recent years he has often been ahead of the Democratic Party consensus. How do you explain that shift?

It’s always tough to get at exactly why politicians change their positions over time. Often, it reflects political accommodation, preparing for an upcoming campaign. (Case in point: President Bill Clinton signing the Defense of Marriage Act, barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages, in September 1996 — a bill that Biden, along with most Democrats, supported.)

But it’s hard to see what Biden had to gain in 2012 when he stepped out in front of President Barack Obama to announce his support for same-sex marriage. “There’s no political barometer that would have told him to get ahead of the White House on this,” Pete Buttigieg, who is gay and ran for president this year, told us.

But societal views on these kinds of issues were beginning to change. Biden was very much part of that wave — and when it came to the Democratic Party, ahead of much of it.

Tell us more about that moment. Was it just an example of Biden being characteristically loose-lipped — or was it a reflection of a consistent role he played in the administration, as a proponent of L.G.B.T.Q. rights?

Obama and his White House were caught off-guard by this. They were, in fact, angered by the notion that Biden was trying to pre-empt the president on the issue, or even that he was trying to maneuver Obama to — I guess we shouldn’t say come out of the closet on the issue, should we? Well, just did. Biden’s aides initially issued a statement suggesting that he had been misunderstood, but he soon made clear that he wasn’t.

This is one of those cases where he was asked a question, had a view on the question, and answered it.

In this year’s Democratic primary, Biden wasn’t the first choice of most progressives, but he seemed to have generally earned the trust of many L.G.B.T.Q. rights advocates. Would you say there is true excitement there about his candidacy?

Support for him among L.G.B.T.Q. leaders is really high; we heard it again and again in our interviews. He might not have been their first choice — though in many cases he was — but there is no ambivalence about his candidacy. Chad Griffin, a longtime gay-rights leader, said Biden would be the “most pro-equality president we have ever had.” Did we mention that he’s running against Trump?

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