President Donald Trump warned Friday that anyone coming to Oklahoma to protest against his campaign rally in Tulsa “will not be treated” like they have been in other areas of the country.
“It will be a much different scene!” Trump said in a tweet.
The president’s threat, which lumped protesters in with “anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes,” came a day before he plans to return to the campaign trail with a massive in-person rally. The gatherings, once a hallmark of Trump’s campaign style, have not been held for months out of concerns about spreading the coronavirus.
The kickoff event to reboot Trump’s reelection campaign has been hugely controversial. Public health experts — even some within the Trump administration, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci — have warned that the event could spread the deadly disease.
The White House declined to comment on Trump’s tweet.
The rally, which comes amid a nationwide protest movement against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, is also expected to draw virtual and in-person opposition from activists and demonstrators.
Trump has criticized leaders in New York, Minneapolis and Seattle for their handling of the protests. The president has taken an aggressive “law and order” stance against the demonstrations, at times blurring the distinction between the thousands of peaceful participants and those who have committed acts of violence or theft during the events.
The city of Tulsa on Thursday had initially announced a last-minute 10 p.m. curfew that would take effect Friday and Saturday, explaining that local law enforcement informed had warned that people from violence-causing groups were traveling to Tulsa to foment unrest around Trump’s rally, multiple outlets reported.
But in a statement Friday afternoon, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the U.S. Secret Service asked him to lift the curfew order, and he complied.
“Last night, I enacted a curfew at the request of Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, following consultation with the United States Secret Service based on intelligence they had received,” Bynum said in the statement, NBC News reported.