Debacle in Tulsa

(ema- revised June 20, 2020) Plagued by sagging poll numbers, Trump hoped his first rally since the outbreak of the pandemic would serve to re-launch his campaign.  Across the country states were in various stages of reopening, but on June 10, the day Trump announced the rally, there were over 20,000 new cases of COVID around the country according to the CDC (+); public health experts strongly advised against the event.  The campaign chose Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19 as the site of first rally.  Oklahoma had been relatively lightly hit by the pandemic and in the reliably Republican state the campaign expected it would have no trouble filling the 19,000 seat BOK Center.  The choice was controversial as Tulsa was the site of the Black Wall Street massacre in 1921 and June 19 was Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery.  Responding to criticism Trump changed the date to June 20.  Expectations were high for the event; the campaign said it received over a million ticket requests.  The campaign required registrants to agree to COVID liability waiver, and also said it would provide temperature checks, hand sanitizer and masks, although masks were not required.  On the day of the rally, news outlets reported that six campaign advance staffers working the event had tested positive. 

The rally itself failed to meet expectations.  The arena was less than half full
–the Tulsa Fire Department reported 6,200 attended—and a stage prepared for an overflow crowd was not needed.  Although the campaign pointed to millions of online and TV viewers, the inability to fill the arena was seen as a debacle.

Campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted, "Radical protestors, fueled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally.  They even blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering." 
The campaign rejected reports by the New York Times, CNN and other outlets suggesting the empty seats were due to K-pop fans and TikTok videos which encouraged people to register for tickets.  "These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking," Parscale said in a statement.

Taylor Lorenz, Kellen Browning and Sheera Frenkel.  "TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally."  New York Times, June 20, 2020.

Donie O'Sullivan.  "TikTok users are trying to troll Trump's campaign by reserving tickets for Tulsa rally they'll never use."  CNN, June 20, 2020.

Republican National Committee
June 22, 2020

This is what enthusiasm looks like.
Nearly 20 million Americans watched President Trump’s rally Saturday night on the Trump campaign’s digital media channels and Fox News Channel.
President Trump’s rally delivered the largest Saturday night ratings for the network in its history.
And for the Biden campaign? Joe Biden remains in his basement, hiding from the American people.
Meanwhile, President Trump speaks directly to the American people — in person—reminding the country that the Great American Comeback is underway.
Looking ahead: Tomorrow marks 82 days of Biden hiding from the American people without holding a press conference. Joe Biden’s press shop should be inundated by now with requests asking why their candidate is unable to vacate his basement and speak to the American people.
Steve Guest
Rapid Response Director
Republican National Committee

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
June 21, 2020

Trump campaign statement on bogus claims of ticket hacking

“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work. Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-Pop fans - without contacting the campaign for comment -  behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade. Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool. These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission - entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required. The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally. MSNBC was among outlets reporting that protesters even blocked entrances to the rally at times. For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical. And it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals.”

- Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
June 20, 2020

Trump campaign statement on Tulsa rally viewership

“President Trump’s rally in Tulsa attracted over 4 million unique viewers across all of the campaign’s digital media channels. The live-streamed pre-rally shows drew an audience of more than 2.5 million unique viewers by themselves. These numbers don’t even include television viewers. The news media, which encouraged protestors and bombarded Americans for more than a week with dire warnings against attending a Trump rally, are still unable to prevent President Trump from reaching the people. These numbers represent unmatched enthusiasm behind the President’s re-election and a massive audience that Joe Biden can only dream of.”
 - Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director

Republican National Committee
June 19, 2020

President Trump’s Tulsa rally sheds light on black American history and his commitment to building up the black community

President Trump’s Tulsa rally sheds light on black American history and his commitment to building up the black community
Tulsa World
RNC Sr. Advisor for Black Media Affairs Paris Dennard
June 18, 2020

"Growing up, my Granny and Papa would always tell me, 'Know who you are and whose you are.' Black American history has always been important to me. Long before the mainstream media decided to focus on Tulsa, I knew about a neighborhood in the Greenwood area of Tulsa, known now as 'Black Wall Street.'
"What I most admired about the residents of Greenwood and other cities like Durham, North Carolina's Black Wall Street, was the ability for these black Americans to achieve so much by supporting each other, investing in each other and building a prosperous community, jobs, generational wealth and a sense of pride.
"…They did not let the laws of the land prevent them from building a beautifully prosperous black oasis boasting their own stores, movie theaters, restaurants, realtors, banks, churches, physicians, lawyers, salons and modern homes.
"When you think about black success, black generational wealth, black entrepreneurship, the American dream, it could be found in Greenwood…
"Horrifically, that all came to a disgustingly brutal stop May 31 through June 1, 1921, when the legacy of this town became known more for the massacre rather than its majesty.

"Fast forward 99 years later to the day when I, like President Trump, and so many other Americans, watched black American cities literally being destroyed by lawless mobs after the tragic murder of George Floyd. I could not believe black-owned businesses in many cities run by Democrats, were allowed to burn along with the hopes and dreams of so many that were trying to have their own American dream, provide for their families and bring beacons of light to their communities.

"When the Trump campaign announced the rally in Tulsa it gave the world an opportunity to learn more about and from Black Wall Street, not just the massacre but why it was so significant, why it was so unique and is an example for us 99 years later…
"The rally in Tulsa will now happen on the Saturday because President Trump is a leader who listens and cares. The media will never give him credit for how responsive and intentional he is, certainly on issues of race and the black community…
"…I have no doubt that our nation, including our black communities, will come back stronger than ever and we will rebuild with President Trump as our leader. He may not get the credit he deserves today, but in the end, because of his leadership we will have a great American comeback!"
Click here to read more.


The White House  [see highlighted excerpts]
June 17, 2020

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:15 P.M. EDT

MS. MCENANY:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Great to join you today.  So, five years ago today, nine innocent parishioners of a historically black church were killed during an evening Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina.  We all remember that tragedy, and this was a despicable act of evil that happened five years ago today.  So we remember that somber day at that Charleston church, as our hearts still break for the victims and our prayers go out to the families.

Yesterday, President Trump led and brought our nation together behind real, meaningful, substantial change to ensure that we have safe streets and safe policing.  Part of that was having an incentive structure to implement the highest professional standards in our police departments through an accreditation process.

This accreditation entails making sure you have de-escalation practices in place, use of force tactics in place.  Part of that is prohibiting chokehold, except in the event where lethal force is used.  It also incentivizes information sharing and makes sure that if they have an officer who’s had multiple uses of excessive force, that that information is sent to a national database.

And then, finally, another prong of this was having co-responders, who are experts in mental health, going alongside law enforcement, because we know law enforcement officials often have to deal with mental health, homelessness, and addiction.  And having a co-responder, who is an expert in this process, will go a long way.

This is project — progress.  It’s tangible action.  And it’s solutions.

And today, Senator Tim Scott said this is “not a binary choice” between supporting police officers and between supporting victims of grave injustices, like George Floyd.  It’s not a binary choice.  There are not sides here.  This is about America coming together.  This is about human decency.  And this is about justice.  And when we see injustices, we recognize them.

As President Trump said yesterday, all children deserve equal opportunity because we are all made equal by God.  That is so true.

First, let me point out that I have sat across from a police officer family that lost their loved one.  I saw a little girl named Charlie, who will forever grow up without a father; who will forever grow up without a father for prom, for the father-daughter dance.  And it was heartbreaking to know that she lost her father, who was a valiant hero.

But yesterday, I sat across from families who lost their loved ones in mass instances of injustice.  And it was heartbreaking to hear their stories.  It was a real tragedy.  It was a tearful moment.  It was an emotional moment.  And it’s one that the President, when I asked him in the Oval Office about it afterwards, he said this: “I love those families.  I want to help those families.”  And President Trump means that.  Because this is about humanity.  That is ultimately what this is about.

And Senator Scott shared a very beautiful Bible verse with those families yesterday, and I just want to read it here, to close.  Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  He shared that Bible verse with those families, and it was particularly meaningful to me and, I think, to the families, as well.

And, with that, I’ll take questions.  Yes.

Q    First of all, you did a great job dealing with that feedback.  I know that’s not — that’s not —

MS. MCENANY:  Mix-minus.

Q    Mix-minus — it’s the worst.

MS. MCENANY:  Yes.  Thank you.

Q    All right.  So the Trump administration — the Trump Justice Department has appointment six U.S. attorneys to examine the actions of the President’s political adversaries, but they’ve only opened one federal investigation into systemic bias in policing.  So my question to you is: Why are so many resources being allocated to make sure the President and his allies were treated fairly by law enforcement and not the same for millions of black Americans?

MS. MCENANY:  So I think you’re comparing two things that it’s not accurate to compare on the level of the number of —

Q    They’re Justice Department investigations.

MS. MCENANY:  — attorneys looking into.

First, we all know that this administration was dragged four years through a bogus investigation founded upon a dossier full of lies, funded by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.  It was an injustice to the American people who elected President Trump as President of the United States, who was then bogged down by an investigation, which ended up with two words: no collusion.

That’s one —

Q    But there were convictions.  There were guilty pleas.

MS. MCENANY:  That’s the first part of your question.

But as to the second part, this President has taken real, tangible, concrete action on the issue of policing.  We saw that yesterday.  Guess who hasn’t led?  Democrats.  They’ve engaged in meaningless symbolism as we saw them, you know, kneeling for minutes on end.  But this President isn’t about gestures.  It’s not about symbolism.  It’s about action.  It’s about making sure someone like George Floyd never dies in that manner ever again in this country.

Q    He did not mention racial bias yesterday, nor does that executive order.

MS. MCENANY:  This — first of all, this executive order addresses the issue at hand.  And I thought my colleague Ja’Ron Smith handled this really well yesterday when he said this about the executive order on this very question from you.  He said, “A lot of people want to make it about race, but it’s about communities and individuals.  You’re trying to fix something that — you can’t really fix the heart of people, but you can fix individual pieces that deal with the real problem, which is access [to] opportunity.”

You can fix schools and remedy the disparities we see in schooling.  You can fix policing to the degree we can, at the federal level, to incentivize good behavior and fair practices.  You can fix the economy, as President Trump has done.  He brought about the lowest economic unemployment rate for African American individuals, and paychecks going up prior to this pandemic when we had to artificially shut down the economy.  You can fix the individual pieces, but it’s up to our country to change hearts.


Q    Does the President — the President talked about chokeholds yesterday.  The bill that’s been unveiled by the Republican Senator Scott and other Republicans does not ban chokeholds.  Does he think it should?

MS. MCENANY:  The President is fully in support of the Scott bill.  They are working closely on that.  And our EO puts an end to that, or incentivizes through the accreditation process to put an end to chokeholds in the — unless there’s lethal force used.  We fully support the Scott bill and every element of it.

And one thing I would note about the Scott bill is: For years, we’ve tried to make lynching a federal crime in this country, and the Scott bill does it.  It’s a great bill.  It’s more great action from Republicans, and we hope we can have bipartisan support on that.

Q    But to be clear, the executive order does not ban chokeholds.  I mean, you can’t actually do that, I don’t believe, through an executive order.  And this bill does not ban chokeholds.  Do you think, does the President think that chokeholds simply should be banned?

MS. MCENANY:  So what I have from the Justice Act here is that this will also end the practice of utilizing chokeholds.  And I would underscore the executive order does that through an incentivizing process.  So we’ve done what we can, and we’ll continue to do more and we’ll continue to work with the Scott bill.  And there might be amendments to it, there might not.  But we want to see this come to fruition.


Q    Because it does incentives; it doesn’t actually ban the practice?  It encourages, but it doesn’t not actually ban the practice?

MS. MCENANY:  Yes.  Well, that is —

Q    (Inaudible) Democrats (inaudible).

MS. MCENANY:  We’re incentivizing to ban chokeholds and lessen the case of where lethal force is used.  That’s the process that we’re using, and I’ll tell you this: It’s a much better process than the Democrats who, so far, have offered zero — nothing — except a lot of bad ideas about this that would ultimately, I would note, defund the police department.


Q    Kayleigh, in the last day, 96 people in Tulsa have contracted the coronavirus.  I’m wondering about this rally coming up on Saturday.  Will the President or the White House take responsibility if people get sick and catch the coronavirus at this rally on Saturday?

MS. MCENANY:  So the campaign has taken certain measures to make sure this is a safe rally: temperature checks, hand sanitizers, and masks.  So we are taking precautions.

Q    But you’re not requiring people to wear masks.

MS. MCENANY:  They will be given a mask.  It’s up to them whether to make that decision.  CDC guidelines are recommended but not required.

Q    And the CDC guidelines suggest that people practice social distancing.  You’re not going to be able to practice social distancing in a rally with thousands of people.  So aren’t you, in essence, bringing people to a rally where they won’t be abiding by those guidelines, adhering to those guidelines?

MS. MCENANY:  It’s the personal choice of individuals as to what to do.  But if we want to talk about internal coherence, I believe that the media needs to work on internal coherence.

This wonderful New York Post story — I don’t think Steven Nelson is here, but good job to the New York Post — highlights the hypocrisy of the media where this is okay: protesting; this is not okay: Trump rallies.

It’s really remarkable, and I think the American people have taken notice when, for instance, NBC tweets at 4:05 p.m. on June 14th: “Rally for Black trans lives draws [packed] crowds,” in Brooklyn Museum Plaza, seeming to be lauding the protests.  And then, less than an hour and a half later, they say, “President Trump plans to rally…but health experts are questioning that decision.”  CBS had a similar logically inconsistent tweet.

Q    Kayleigh, these are protesters protesting against injustice, against racism and police brutality.  This is a rally — a political rally.  They’re — they’re not going to be demonstrating for any kind of cause other than supporting the President.  And I go back to my original question: Will the White House, will the President take responsibility if there are people who catch the coronavirus and get sick?  As you know, you’ve been to these rallies.

MS. MCENANY:  So have you, by the way.

Q    Many of the people who go to the rallies — I’ve been  to them too —


Q    — are elderly.  Probably half, preexisting conditions that put them at risk for serious complications if they catch this virus.

MS. MCENANY:  So, first, let me note, you’ve been to rallies — these Trump rallies.  We do rally in support of something.  We rally in support of the President who got us the lowest number of black unemployment in the history of our country and paychecks going up.  We rally that HBCU funding for historically black colleges and universities is permanent because of President Trump.

Q    Right.  But you’re not answering my question.

MS. MCENANY:  We rally — but to say —

Q    Will the President, will the White House take responsibility if people get sick?

MS. MCENANY:  No, because you — Jim, you suggested —

Q    Can you answer that question?

MS. MCENANY:  You suggested that we don’t rally on behalf of anything.  So let me note one more thing: We rally on behalf of —

Q    I said you rally on behalf of the President.  That’s why you’re going.

MS. MCENANY:  We rally on behalf of criminal justice reform and the FIRST STEP Act, which President Obama and Vice President Biden talked about, but we did.

And I would note this: If we want to talk about the efficacy of what we’re doing, 1,300 health experts signed a letter about the protest, saying, “We do not condemn these gatherings.  We support them as vital.”  So you have the health experts on one side saying this, and then, all of a sudden, a Trump rally is different.

Q    Okay.  You’re dancing around — you’re dancing around the question.  You’re holding up a newspaper headline.  That’s very nice.

MS. MCENANY:  And I’ve taken five of your questions.  Work on your internal cohesion, and get back to me, Jim.

Yes, please.

Q    Ms. McEnany, you have not answered the question.  Will the President, will the White House —

MS. MCENANY:  I answered five of your questions.  And last —

Q    But my first question has not been answered.  Will the President, will the White House take responsibility —

MS. MCENANY:  I said to you we are taking precautions.

Q    — if people get sick?

MS. MCENANY:  I said to you we are taking precautions: masks, hand sanitizer.

Q    So you’re not going to take responsibility?


Q    Kayleigh, so for attendees at this rally, the campaign is requiring them to sign a waiver to waive them of liability, acknowledging that there’s an assumed risk with going to that rally.  Does not the President have some responsibility himself to ensure — to set an example of for the nation to stop — you know, to prevent these larger gatherings or ensuring social distancing so that the American people — and people around the world, for that matter — follow his example and (inaudible) the most safe environment?  Why is the President not following CDC guidance in doing that?

MS. MCENANY:  We are doing temperature checks, hand sanitizers, masks.  When you come to the rally, as with any event, you assume a personal risk.  That is just what you do.  When you go to a baseball game, you assume a risk.  That’s part of life.  It’s the personal decision of Americans as to whether to go to the rally or whether or not to go to the rally.

But I would note that this concern for the rallies has been largely absent when it came to the protesters.  People really note when CBS says, “Thousands participate in a rally in a silent march for black trans lives,” and then less than — this more than an hour and a half later, “President Trump moving ahead with the rally.  Serious risk of spreading coronavirus.”  It’s really inconsistent.  The media seems to not be interested in health so much as the ideology behind certain events.

So, you know, for instance, you go and the lockdown protesters were widely condemned by the media — who were protesting the lockdown — but then, all of a sudden, this protest for Black Lives Matter is lauded.  It makes no sense.  Ideology is driving the line of questioning in many of these cases, when it should be — if you’re focused on science, you should be out there asking these same questions about the protests.

Q    Well, Kayleigh, public health officials here, local officials, mayors in large — many of the cities where there have been protests have encouraged those who attended those large gatherings and others to get tested four or five days after their attendance at the event.  Does the President want attendees at his own rally on Saturday to get tested four or five days later to make sure that they didn’t get the virus there?  And who should they inform if they do come down with the virus after the rally?

MS. MCENANY:  It’s their personal decision as to whether they want to get tested after, but I’d note testing capability is, thanks to President Trump, 23.7 million people tested in this country so far.  That’s an extraordinary number.

So, testing is out there and available if someone chooses to do that.


Q    Sorry, Kayleigh, just one more.  Excuse me — sorry.  Has the White House been monitoring this outbreak of violence between Indian and Chinese troops?  And does the White House have any reaction?  Is the President getting on the phone and talking to the relevant countries there?

MS. MCENANY:  So the President is aware of it.  We’re monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.

So we’ve seen that the Indian Army statement that 20 Indian soldiers died as a result of the confrontation today, and we extend our deepest condolences on that.


Q    To follow up on Zeke, has the Coronavirus Task Force been consulted?  Have they done any modeling on how many people could get sick at the Tulsa rally or die from the Tulsa rally?  Have they even been consulted about the rally?

MS. MCENANY:  The Coronavirus Task Force — they’re meeting today.  I would first point that out.  They meet regularly, and they monitor the whole country.  So they don’t zone in on a Trump rally; they zone in on the whole country and analyze it through a database lens.

Q    So they haven’t specifically done modeling on the rally?

MS. MCENANY:  They look at the entirety of the country.  That would include the state of Oklahoma, but they look at all 50 states in close consultation with governors.

Q    And on Jay Powell — this morning, the Fed chairman, Jay Powell, this morning said that he thinks it would be appropriate for there to be more federal stimulus.  Does the White House have any comment on his comments?

MS. MCENANY:  You know, it’s something that’s being looked at, of course — a phase four.  And no announcements on what those elements be, and wouldn’t want to get out ahead of the President.  But I would note that this economy is robust and growing and coming back stronger than anyone could think from this because of the President.

I mean, you look at retail sales surging, 17.7 percent; unemployment insurance weekly claims falling.  We have the fastest growth rate in American history in the third quarter.

So we artificially shut down the economy, but we have a robust recovery happening and taking place, and that’s thanks to President Trump.  And there are a lot of good metrics, like new business applications skyrocketing, small businesses now opening at about 80 percent, Apple mobility index that’s practically pre-pandemic levels.

So there’s more work to be done, and phase four will address that, should it take place.

But we are encouraged by what we’re seeing, that the Donald Trump economy is coming back, because ultimately, investors and business owners have faith in this President.

Yes, Jeff.

Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  You mentioned testing just now.  The President has also both been tweeting and saying publicly, on Monday, that if the country just stopped testing, that there would be no — or virtually no cases left.  That doesn’t make sense.  Can you explain what he means by that?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, it’s entirely logical.  When you do more testing, you identify more cases.  Countries that don’t do as much testing don’t identify the same number of cases.  I mean, it’s pretty logical exactly what he said.

Q    Okay, so it’s about identifying them.  Because he seemed to suggest that if we weren’t testing, then those cases wouldn’t exist.  Is that — is that just a misunderstanding?

MS. MCENANY:  No, that — that wasn’t — that was not at all what he was saying.  He was saying, when you test, you end up identifying more cases.  And we’ve tested 23.7 million people; positivity rate of 5.9 percent.  So we are in a good place when it comes to testing.


Q    And just along those same lines, the Vice President today wrote an op-ed — I believe in the Wall Street Journal — playing down the prospects of a second wave.  Does the White House — is the White House just confident that there’s not going to be a second wave of the coronavirus?

MS. MCENANY:  The White House is confident that we have enough testing to identify asymptomatic individuals; that we have therapeutics that are promising; that we are working on a vaccine with Project Warp Speed that we hope will be there by the end of the year and we think will be.  And we have a robust public-private partnership that has shored up America’s supply chain.

So we are in a good place, and that’s what the Vice President was noting.


Q    Thanks a lot, Kayleigh.  Two subjects.  The first question has to do with the lawsuit that was filed against John Bolton, the former National Security Advisor, by the Department of Justice yesterday.  The DOJ did not file a lawsuit against Simon & Schuster, nor did it file an injunction against the publisher.  Why not?  Do you still expect this book to hit bookstores, to be on Amazon, to be available for people to read on the 23rd of this month?

MS. MCENANY:  So that — as to why they went down that particular path, that’s a question for DOJ.  But what I would note is this book is full of classified information, which is inexcusable.  Former National Security Advisor John Bolton should know all too well that it’s unacceptable to have highly classified information from the government of the United States in a book that will be published.  It’s unacceptable.  It has not gone through the review process, and that’s where we currently stand.

And I’d refer you back to Barr’s comment on this, which is, “We don’t believe that Bolton went through that process.”  It hasn’t been completed, the process, and therefore he “is in violation of that agreement.”  That was part of his quote from Monday.

Q    Then, on the other subject, the executive order the President signed yesterday.  During that event, in his comments, he acknowledged that there are, indeed, bad police officers.  Is the President opposed to the idea of removing qualified immunity for police officers, even bad police officers?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, so qualified immunity, let me note, is a total and complete non-starter.  What qualified immunity would do is it would really enable the police in this country to do their job.  That’s in the Democrat bill.

And I’d argue this: You know, Democrats, they say, “Defund the police, defund the police.”  We hear that from Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and Congresswoman Omar and others.  Well, what does the Democrat bill do?  By removing qualified immunity, what you’re essentially doing is not allowing police to do their job.  There would be a decrease in policing in this country.  Our streets would not be safe.

What President Trump has done is worked with the law enforcement to improve law enforcement, to ensure that the bad cops that exist are pushed out of the system.  The overwhelming majority of cops are good, so we’ve got to address the handful that are bad, and that’s what the President’s order has done.

But taking away qualified immunity would make the streets of this country a whole lot less secure.  Just look at what happened when we didn’t have ample law enforcement out on Lafayette Square: A church burned and multiple officers injured.

Q    So how do you handle the situation, Kayleigh, of a bad police officer hiding behind the shield of qualified immunity?

MS. MCENANY:  Look, I would note that also the court has litigated this pretty strongly.  It’s been adjudicated.  The Harlow court — in that decision, Harlow, the Supreme Court talked about achieving a balance between allowing victims to hold officials accountable while also minimizing the social cost to the whole — the cost of police officers, for example, pulling back.

So the Supreme Court has litigated this for decades and has approached what they think is the appropriate balance with qualified immunity.

And I think it would go a long way just doing what the President did yesterday: having that national database of offenders so we ensure that a police officer doesn’t leave one department and then go to another.


Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  You outlined the White House’s position on qualified immunity, defunding the police.  But you also said earlier that the Democratic bill is full of bad ideas.  What are the other “bad” ideas, besides those two, that the President would not sign a policing bill if they wound up in the final version?

MS. MCENANY:  So, one of the things the bill does is it undermines due process.  The Democrat bill would undermine the due process rights of every officer by making pending and unsubstantial allegations available to the public, causing reputationable [sic] — reputational damage based on allegations alone.  That’s a really good example, because what our database does is once a claim has been adjudicated, we know something was done wrong, it goes into a database that remains private.  It protects privacy of the officers, but it is utilized to ensure that officer does not get to go to another department.

What the Democrat bill would do is: If someone submits an allegation, well, we’re going to violate the due process rights of this officer and put it into a system.

We have to balance everything in this situation, making sure our good, hardworking, overwhelmingly good police officers are able to do their job, but ensuring that we do not have victims like the victims I heard about yesterday in the excruciating, painful, devastating stories of their sisters, of their mothers and of their fathers.

Q    So, sorry, one other question on that and something else.  So you’re saying those are the three?  That’s it?

MS. MCENANY:  There’s a number of things, but those are the ones that I’ve listed out so far.  There’s a number of problems in the bill.

Q    And on the President’s rallies, he has also said that he has rallies on the books in North Carolina and also Florida, two states that have seen recent spikes in coronavirus.  Who told the President that it would be safe to have rallies in states that are seeing spikes right now?

MS. MCENANY:  Well, we are confident that there are embers out there that exist, that we’ll be able to put out those embers.  Florida has a great governor.  He’s done a great job so far.  We work closely with Governor DeSantis, and we believe that we will be at a safe place.


Q    But who said it was safe?

Q    Kayleigh, Justice Gorsuch’s decision from the Supreme Court this week against anti-LGBT discrimination was focused on employment civil rights law, but also had implications on housing, healthcare.  How does the President want this implemented?  Does he wanted it implemented as extensively or as narrowly as possible?

MS. MCENANY:  So what the President says is he’s read the decision, they’ve ruled; we live with the decision, and we live with the decision of the Supreme Court.  So that’s where he stands currently.  And in terms of how it’s implemented, DOJ will lead the multi-agency effort to help provide certainty to the regulated parties.

Q    I understand DOJ’s rule, but the President also has the opportunity to express his opinion and to lead, much like President Obama, in 2013, who said he hoped the marriage decision from the Supreme Court would be implemented as extensively as possible.  What is President Trump’s view on the appropriate scope of the Court’s decision?

MS. MCENANY:  So DOJ will be guiding that entirely, so I will leave that to DOJ.

Q    And, finally, has the President — will the President have any conversations with DOJ about the implementation about the Court’s decision?

MS. MCENANY:  Not that I’m aware of.  He might have had one I don’t know about, but not that I’m aware of.

Q    And one more question.  Does the President think that the Gorsuch decision is a win for civil rights?

MS. MCENANY:  Sorry?

Q    Does the President think the Gorsuch decision is a win for civil rights?

MS. MCENANY:  So one thing I would say — I have not talked to the President about that personally, but one thing I wanted to read was from the Kavanaugh dissent.  There are some real concerns that this was a complete distortion of how we do statutory interpretation, and Kavanaugh lays that out very nicely.

But one thing Justice Kavanaugh did say, and I thought it was a very powerful quote, is: “Notwithstanding my concern about the Court’s transgression of the Constitution’s separation of powers…” — which was a grave concern as the separation of powers point that the DOJ argued in court — “it is appropriate to acknowledge the important victory achieved today by gay and lesbian Americans.”

So I thought that that was a very good quote from Justice Kavanaugh.

Yes.  Alexandra.

Q    Thank you.  On the plans to reduce U.S. troops in Germany, is there a timeline you can share with us?  And could this decision, this plan, be changed or softened if Berlin agreed to increase its defense spending?

MS. MCENANY:  So the President addressed our presence — American troop presence in Germany, and he said we’re bringing that number down from 52,000 — about what it’s at now — to 25,000.  And the rationale for that, he articulated, was that Germany is very delinquent in their payments to NATO.  They’re paying 1 percent.  They’re supposed to be at 2 percent, and even 2 percent is low.  It should be much more than that.

Q    Would he change his plan if Germany agreed to increased (inaudible)?

MS. MCENANY:  I wouldn’t get ahead of the President on making that decision.


Q    Hi.  Thanks, Kayleigh.  I have one question, and then I have two quick questions from colleagues who have sent to me as the pool person.

So, on my question, back when two White House officials tested positive for COVID, we all reported on an email that went out to West Wing employees instructing them that masks were mandatory to be worn in the West Wing at all times, with the exception of being when they were sitting at their desks, alone.  Obviously, none of the White House people that I’ve seen today have been wearing masks at all.

Has that been rescinded?  Has that instruction to West Wing employees been rescinded formally, or is it just still in place but nobody is paying attention to it?  Or —

MS. MCENANY:  So, masks are recommended, but not requi- –required.  Excuse me.  As I said.

Q    Okay.  And two quick questions.

MS. MCENANY:  Could I — I want to get to everyone in the room, so —

Q    Well, these are from people who can’t be in the room because of the restrictions.

MS. MCENANY:  I understand.  But I want to make sure I get to everyone in the room, and then we can come back.

Q    Okay.

MS. MCENANY:  So, Rob.

Q    Can I just get a clarification on your equivalence between protests in the streets and this rally on Saturday?  Is it the White House position that outdoor events carry the same risk as indoor events?

MS. MCENANY:  It’s our position that the media should not be making decisions about their guidelines to us about social distancing based on political ideology or what they think is the worthiness of the cause.

Q    But my point is, there a good scientific reasons for treating the two events different.  One is outdoors and one is indoors.

MS. MCENANY:  Right.  And there’s not a good logical reason for this, so that’s the one thing I would keep going back to.

And can I also ask — can you tell us anything —

MS. MCENANY:  Yes, Owen.

Q    — about the Secretary of State’s trip to Hawaii to meet his Chinese counterpart?

MS. MCENANY:  So, I have no information on that.

Owen.  Yes.

Q    Blake.  Different mask.

MS. MCENANY:  Oh, sorry.  Blake.  They subbed you in.

Q    No worries.  No worries.

MS. MCENANY:  Good to see you Blake.

Q    You too.  A couple on the economic front.  Earlier this month in Maine, the President was talking about Maine lobster, and he said the following: He said, “If the European Union doesn’t drop that tariff immediately, we’re going to put a tariff on their cars, which will be equivalent.”  Can you give us an update on that?  What is “immediately”?  What is the status of potential tariffs on EU autos?

MS. MCENANY:  I haven’t inquired about that today, but I will inquire about that, and I’ll try to get back to you before five, if that works.

Q    And secondly, an infrastructure bill — can you just sort of give us a broad outline of what the administration wants to see?  Is that a reauthorization of the highway bill that comes up at the end of the year?  Is that added on to a potential phase four stimulus?  What is the administration — what does the White House want as it relates to infrastructure?

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, I don’t want to get ahead of the administration on our official plans for that.  Infrastructure is something we’ve talked about for a long time, and it’s something that we think that we could find common ground on.  But it’s up to Democrats to really come to us and make that happen.  It’s been mentioned as potentially a phase four, but that’s not in stone, but that has been mentioned.  No formalized plans, though, on where infrastructure stands.

Q    Is that a trillion dollars?  Is it a trillion dollars?  Up to it?

MS. MCENANY:  We don’t have a number on that right now.


Q    On the Tulsa rally, can you give us a sense of which health experts the campaign and the White House consulted before deciding to hold it?  Did anyone talk to the CDC about whether it be a good idea?

MS. MCENANY:  Look, we are taking every single safety precaution that we can.  And again, I would note this is probably question number 10 on rallies.  And while we appreciate the great concern for our rally goers, you should exhibit that same concern for the protesters who are out there who are not socially distancing, in many cases, and not wearing masks.


Q    Thank you, Kayleigh.  Going back to the international front on China and India, you just mentioned that the administration is monitoring the situation, but the President has mentioned that he would be willing to mediate the conflict between China and India.  Now, if he were to do so, what does that look like?  Does that mean — does that look like a one-on-one conversation?  Does that mean bringing the two leaders together?  Has the President indicated what mediation looks like for China and India?

MS. MCENANY:  So, again, no formal plans on that beyond what I already said in expressing our absolute condolences to the Indian soldiers that died as a result of today’s confrontation.  We extend our deepest condolences there.

And I would note just that during the phone call on June 2nd of this year that President Trump had with Prime Minister Modi, they did discuss the situation on the India-China border.

Q    On the relationship between President Trump and President Xi, the Chinese forces have been moving thousands of troops to that region that — it doesn’t seem like that region is going to see de-escalation anytime soon.  If you were to characterize President Trump’s relationship with President Xi today, would you —

MS. MCENANY:  Yeah, I —

Q    Would you venture into that realm?

MS. MCENANY:  I would just say what the President has said before: that he is really appalled at the fact that the coronavirus came out of China.  They weren’t allowing flights into China but were allowing flights out.  They slow-walked information.  The WHO seemed to partner with China in slow-walking that information about asymptomatic spread.

So that is an appalling state of events, and the President is very upset by that action of China — or inaction, in some cases, I should say.

Thank you all very much.  I hope you have a great rest of the day, and I hope we start seeing more consistent headlines.  Thanks very much.


Biden for President

June 20, 2020 

Biden Campaign Statement on Donald Trump Admitting He Ordered the Slowing of COVID-19 Testing

Tonight, in response to President Trump saying he ordered the slowing of COVID-19 testing during his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Biden for President Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield released the following statement:

“In an outrageous moment that will be remembered long after tonight’s debacle of a rally, President Trump just admitted that he’s putting politics ahead of the safety and economic well-being of the American people — even as we just recorded the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost two months and 20 million workers remain out of work.

“Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement of our nation’s response to the worst public health crisis in over 100 years began with ignoring countless warnings from his own officials and selling us out to the Chinese government for a hollow trade deal — and that mismanagement continues to this day as he continues to put his own political interests first while many states see spikes in deadly infections.

“More than three months ago, Donald Trump claimed that ‘anybody that wants a test can get a test.’ This was a lie — one that cost thousands of lives. Tonight in Tulsa, the President explained why America lagged so many other nations in testing: because he ‘said to my people slow the testing down please.’

“Many of Trump's words have divided the country. Many have outraged the country. But few have done more damage to the health and safety of the American people than a presidential order to federal officials that they ‘slow down’ the supply of a critical medical test during a pandemic.

“This virus has killed nearly 120,000 Americans and cost tens of millions their jobs, in large part because this president could not and would not mobilize testing as quickly as we needed it. To hear him say tonight that he has ordered testing slowed — a transparent attempt to make the numbers look better — is appalling. Americans deserve a president who will not make excuses in a crisis. They deserve a president who will lead, and that’s exactly what Joe Biden will do.”


Democratic National Committee
June 19, 2020

Ahead of Trump’s Rally, DNC Launches Full Page Ad In Tulsa Black Newspaper

Ad highlights how Black Americans have lost jobs and lives

Ahead of Trump’s in-person rally in Oklahoma one day after Juneteenth, today the Democratic National Committee is launching a full page newspaper-ad campaign in the Oklahoma Eagle, a historic Black paper in Tulsa.

This afternoon, the DNC will also host a press conference call with Congressman and Biden for President Co-Chair Cedric Richmond and Oklahoma state Representative Ajay Pittman to highlight the public health threat posed by his planned rally and his broader record of broken promises that have hurt working Americans — especially in the African American community. And Alicia Andrews, the first African American to chair the Oklahoma Democratic Party, published an op-ed today in The Oklahoman blasting Trump’s rally, writing that “his presence will divide us, his words will incite prejudice, and his ego-driven rally will pose new threats to Oklahomans’ health.”

“Everything about Trump’s political event, from the blatant disregard for the history of  Juneteenth and Black Wall Street to the reckless apathy for coronavirus health and safety standards, is a reminder of why he’s unfit to be president -- and that’s all before he’s even opened his mouth,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez. “Ever since he got elected, Trump has been dragging our country down with him, and his ineffective response to the coronavirus coupled with his total failure to bring our country together in this time of national crisis have been devastating for African Americans. He’s cost us all jobs, lives, and wherever he goes, Democrats will ensure voters know who to hold accountable.”

The ad highlights Trump’s infamous comments during the 2016 campaign to African American voters -- “What do you have to lose?” -- and will run for one week. An image of the ad is below:

The Lincoln Project
June 17, 2020


Trump’s Ill-advised Rally Puts American Lives In Danger

June 17, 2020-Today, The Lincoln Project released an ad, “Tulsa,” ahead of Donald Trump’s visit there this weekend.

“Trump’s decision to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the weekend of Juneteenth and in the location of the worst race massacre in American history tells voters all they need to know about him. In a time of multiple crises, Donald Trump has further divided and incited Americans rather than bring us together,” said Stuart Stevens, senior advisor to The Lincoln Project. “It’s a shame that this president has decided, once again, that stroking his own ego is more important than serving the nation.”

“Trump is the largest superspreader of division and hatred we’ve seen in generations,” said John Weaver, co-founder of The Lincoln Project.

National Action Network
June 16, 2020


One Week After Delivering the Eulogy for George Floyd, Sharpton to Discuss the State of Race and Policing in the Country
New York, NY (June 16, 2020) – Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network (NAN), will join the family of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa this Friday, June 19th, as the keynote speaker for a commemoration of the anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved African people from bondage in the United States, also known as Juneteenth. Terence Crutcher was an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot in 2016 by police officer Betty Jo Shelby as he was standing next to his vehicle. Following the fatal encounter, a jury later acquitted Shelby, who now works as a deputy sheriff in a neighboring Rogers County, a direct contradiction to Trump’s new police reform executive order.
According to the Crutcher family, Rev. Sharpton is joining Tulsans in commemorating the Juneteenth anniversary and to honor the lives lost as a consequence of racial prejudice. Rev. Sharpton stands in unwavering solidarity with the call for justice for Terence Crutcher, Joshua Barre, Joshua Harvey and every victim of police brutality in Tulsa and across the nation. He also stands in solidarity with the calls of the community for sweeping reforms within the Tulsa Police Department and police departments across the nation. According to Rev. Sharpton, watered-down national, state or local efforts disguised as “reform” will not suffice. 
When:   June 19, 2020  - 6:00 p.m.
Greenwood District, Downtown Tulsa       
I, too, am America: Juneteenth Rally for Justice on Greenwood Avenue
Facebook event:
About the National Action Network
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or

Lawsuit: A 'Super-Spreader' Event

On June 16, 2020 Tulsa Attorneys Clark Brewster and Paul DeMuro filed an emergency motion to stop the rally at BOK Center.  The lawsuit [PDF] states, "ASM Global is proposing a 'super-spreader' event in downtown Tulsa.  As currently planned, the event will endanger not only the health of the guest in attendance and the Plaintiffs, but the entire Tulsa coommunity and any community to which guests may afterwards travel."  On June 19 the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the rally could proceed.

Letter to the Mayor by Healthcare Workers

June 14, 2020
Hon. Mayor G.T. Bynum,

At a time in our country where nearly every decision officials make falls under political scrutiny, we appreciate that many of these decisions are not made lightly. However, more important than appeasing republicans or democrats or straddling the political line, is the safety of our city.

Allowing our city to be one of the first places in the world to host an indoor gathering of this magnitude is not a political matter, it is a public health matter. As our city and state COVID-19 numbers climb at a rate previously unseen, it is unthinkable that this is seen as a logical choice.

It has the potential to shake our cities infrastructure and stress our healthcare systems. It will undoubtedly cost lives. Strong consideration must be given to place a moratorium on large indoor gatherings.


Concerned Healthcare Workers

TikTok Trickery?

The narrative that K-pop fans undermined the Trump rally is intriguing.  Unfortunately one cannot find their videos; they reportedly deleted them so as not to give away their activity.  CNN found one example of how the TikTok campaign worked, not from a teen K-popper, but from Mary Jo Laupp, a grandmother from Fort Dodge, who posted a TikTok video "Did you know you can make sure there are empty seats at Trump's rally?"

If you've been paying attention to the news you know that Donald Trump is planning on holding his first political rally post-quarantine on June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now if you don't know why that's a big deal I want you to Google two phrases, Juneteenth and Black Wall Street. You'll find out why people are really upset about this and why it's a slap in the face to the black community. Somebody on another TikTok post commented that he was offering two free tickets on his campaign website to go to this rally, so I went investigated it. It's two free tickets per cell phone number, because when you register, you have to give them your cell phone number. They send you a code, you put the code in, and your tickets are reserved for you. So, this probably means—having worked on a political campaign this past fall—it probably means that I'll start getting text messages from his campaign. All I have to do to get rid of those text "stop." That's all you have to do. Once you text "stop," they have to stop texting you; that's the law; they have to leave you alone. So I recommend all of those of us that want to see this 19,000 seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty. Go reserve tickets now, and leave him standing there alone on the stage. What do you say?