Video has emerged of Trump campaign volunteers apparently removing social distancing stickers from seats in the arena where the US president gave a campaign rally that many public health experts had warned against because of the still-surging coronavirus pandemic.
The Washington Post published the video, which it says shows Trump campaign workers methodically removing the stickers from seats at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The labels read “Do Not Sit Here, Please!” and had been placed there by the venue in order to minimize the risk of Covid-19 infection.
The Post said the Trump campaign directed the removal of the stickers, against the wishes of the management of the 19,000-seat arena where the 20 June rally was held as part of Trump’s re-election campaign.
The story was originally reported in Billboard magazine, which said thousands of the stickers were removed. Billboard quoted Doug Thornton – a senior executive at the firm that owns the BOK Center – as saying: “They also told us that they didn’t want any signs posted saying we should social distance in the venue.”
Trump’s Tulsa rally was held as coronavirus cases were rising in Oklahoma and sparked widespread condemnation from local health officials, as well as the president’s critics.
Since the rally, eight Trump staffers have tested positive for the virus and many more have been directed to self-quarantine. On Friday night, according to ABC News, campaign staff who were in Tulsa were emailed and told they “are required to obtain a negative Covid-19 test this weekend”.