Health

At Tulsa rally Trump attacks Democrats, admits to slowing COVID-19 testing

By Alfonso Fernández

Washington DC, June 20 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States resumed his belligerent election campaign on Saturday, despite the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country, with a rally in which he attacked what he described as the “radical left” of the Democrats and admitted having ordered COVID-19 tests to be slowed to reduce case numbers.

“The recent Supreme Court cases prove that if (Democrat nominee) Joe Biden is elected, he will stack the court with extremists, the forgotten men and women, together with everyone else,” Trump said in his first election rally after a months-long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as one of the world’s oil capitals and hit hard by the collapse of crude oil prices.

If Biden is elected, the US “will be destroyed” as “he’s controlled by the radical left,” Trump claimed.

The president also touched on his favorite topics: slamming his November presidential election rival, blaming China for the virus – and calling it a racist term, “kung flu” – and claiming to be the president of “law and order.”

With regard to the epidemic, which has already left more than 119,000 dead and 2.2 million infected in the US, Trump defended closing the country’s borders and expressed skepticism about the practice of conducting tests to determine the extent of the outbreak.

In fact, in one of his most surprising comments, the president said that “testing is a double-edged sword” because “when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases.”

“So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please,” he added.

Trump’s remarks come just as the confirmed daily COVID-19 cases in the US surpassed 30,000 for the second consecutive day.

The epicenter of the epidemic on US territory has now shifted from the badly hit East Coast to the Sun Belt states, such as California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona, which account for nearly half of the new cases in the country.

The rally took place in a climate of tension, as it was the largest indoor public event to be held in the US since the start of the epidemic, in an arena that can hold 19,000 people.

Despite Trump’s campaign promising a full house, images showed that many of the stands were empty.

In fact, another rally planned to be held outside the venue, which was to be addressed by Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, was suspended hours earlier amid reports of low attendance.

Holding a rally in enclosed spaces contradicts the recommendations of experts from the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who have said that “large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area” pose the highest risk of the spread of the virus.

The Trump campaign said that these guidelines were “optional” and, although it said attendees would be given temperature checks and masks would be handed out, it did not enforce the wearing of them.

Paradoxically, in order to attend the rally, attendees were required to sign a waiver promising not to sue Trump’s team if they contracted COVID-19 at the event.

The date and place chosen by Trump to resume his re-election campaign have exacerbated racial tensions in the country since the killing of African-American George Floyd in late May, which has triggered an unprecedented wave of protests across the country.

In 1921 Tulsa was the scene of one of the worst massacres ever of African-Americans, when up to 300 were killed by white groups, and Trump’s rally was originally scheduled for Friday, a day known as Juneteenth, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the US, though it was later delayed by a day.

“We are the party of Abraham Lincoln and we are the party of law and order,” said Trump, in reference to the Republican president who pushed for the abolition of slavery in the midst of the American Civil War (1861-1865).

On the widespread protests, which have led to the demolition of numerous Confederate (an unrecognized republic that had waged war against the Union states during the civil war) statues and monuments, the president accused protesters of being “looters” and “anarchists”.

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