- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2020

President Trump signaled Friday that protesters and “anarchists” will have a tougher time in deep-red Oklahoma this weekend than they did in Democratic-run cities across the country, lobbing a preemptive strike at people who stir things up in Tulsa ahead of his comeback rally on Saturday night.

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Mr. Trump’s tweet did not attempt to differentiate between protesters upset about racial injustice and those who’ve damaged property or occupied parts of cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany later said the president meant protesters who are violent, “anarchists” and looters.

Mr. Trump said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, a Republican, agreed not to impose a previously ordered curfew on supporters attending the rally.

Also, the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday denied an attempt by local plaintiffs to block the rally from going forward. In the unanimous ruling, the state court said the petitioners did not establish a “clear legal right” to have the rally canceled.

“It is not the duty of this court to fashion rules or regulations were none exist, simply to achieve a desired outcome,” wrote Justice Dustin Rowe, a Republican.

The Trump campaign said it expects tens of thousands of people to be inside and outside at the Bank of Oklahoma (BOK) Center when the president arrives for his first rally since early March, when the coronavirus started to rip through the U.S.

The campaign said it will check attendees’ temperatures and distribute hand sanitizer and masks to people at the door, though wearing the mask is optional.

Ms. McEnany said she doesn’t plan to wear a mask at the rally. “It’s a personal decision. I’m tested regularly,” she said.

The president is trying to shepherd a “transition to greatness” by revving up the economy after societal lockdowns designed to control the virus.

He is also like to tout efforts to overhaul policing in the wake of Floyd’s death.

At the same time, Mr. Trump is positioning himself as a “law and order” candidate who will not let protests spill into violence.

He is still battling criticism over his decision to stage a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House after police forcefully cleared mostly peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park on June 1.

It’s unclear whether similar scenes will erupt in Tulsa. Community organizers say they plan to observe the Juneteenth holiday over the weekend in the historic Greenwood district, which was known as Black Wall Street before white mobs destroyed it in a 1921 massacre.

“The president has been rattling his cage. He is desperate to break out of the physical confines of the White House and draw energy from an adoring crowd which he is certain to get in Tulsa where there is little chance of large counter-demonstrations,” said Ross Baker, a political professor at Rutgers University.

“This all about his own morale which has been flagging since the Lafayette Square episode.”

• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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