Donald Trump's campaign forced the removal of thousands of "Do Not Sit Here Please!" stickers from seats in the Bank of Oklahoma Center ahead of his divisive return rally in Tulsa. According to a report in The Washington Post (via CNN), the stickers were part of the rally's safety plan, with management purchasing 12,000 do-not-sit stickers to keep people apart and social distancing while attending the rally.
The removal came the day of the rally after the stickers had been placed on "nearly every other seat" in the arena. Trump campaign officials told management to stop putting the stickers and remove them according to the Washington Post's anonymous source.
Workers removed thousands of social distancing stickers before Trump’s Tulsa rally, according to video and a person familiar with the set-up https://t.co/XBEucwz2Yk— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 27, 2020
Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign comms director, didn't address the stickers according to CNN, focusing on the health precautions taken for the event in a statement to the outlet. In the statement released Saturday, Murtaugh said the rally was "in [full] compliance" with the requirements from local authorities.
"In addition, every rally attendee received a temperature check prior to admission, was given a face mask, and provided ample access to hand sanitizer," Murtaugh's statement read. According to CNN, pool reporters at the event noted the stickers were removed before the event began and had noticed them upon arrival. The removal came before attendees were allowed in the arena.
The Washington Post obtained a video clip supporting the claims, showing two men pulling stickers from seats in one section of the arena. Event staff had been told to continue applying the stickers despite protests by the Trump team, leaving campaign officials reportedly taking it upon themselves to remove the stickers.
Workers removed thousands of social distancing stickers before Trump’s Tulsa rally, according to video and a person familiar with the set-up pic.twitter.com/leAqWtkfdl— Pantomath (@pantomath__) June 28, 2020
As was made clear during the rally, many in attendance did not practice social distancing. But the low 6,200 attendance figure may have helped it avoid becoming a "superspreader" event related to the coronavirus pandemic.0comments
Since the rally, at least eight members of Trump's staff tested positive for the virus. This includes members of the Secret Service and members of the campaign team who arrived in Tulsa days before the rally. The White House has held their own stance on the virus and denied that they ordered the stickers removed.
On top of holding the rally in Tulsa, a growing hotspot for the virus, attendees also came in from several areas across the country that have also been hit hard by the disease. It remains to be seen how far the effects of the rally could reach, but coronavirus numbers are spiking across the country with the apparent first wave still continuing to rise.