President Donald Trump on Friday, gearing up for his first campaign rally in months in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, threatened any protesters who show up outside or try to disrupt the event, saying “it will be a much different scene” than how they’ve been dealt with in “New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis.”
“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!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
It wasn’t clear exactly what Trump meant or what he could do to carry out his threat, but he has taken an increasingly hostile tone towards protesters in recent weeks, this time putting “protesters” in same category as “anarchists” “looters” and “lowlifes.”
He has blamed “antifa” for violence at protests, without evidence, and has repeatedly bragged about how the National Guard in Minneapolis dealt with protesters like a “knife cutting butter.”
A curfew was imposed beginning Thursday night until Saturday at 6 a.m., according to Tulsa police, citing concerns abut organized groups coming to the city. After the rally, another curfew will be in place until 6 a.m. Sunday. The rally begins at 7 p.m.
Trump’s rally was initially scheduled for Friday, June 19, known as Juneteenth, the holiday marking when the last people who were still enslaved were told they were freed, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
In a rare instance of his backing down under pressure, the president, after saying he spoke with two black Secret Service agents, announced last week that he would reschedule the rally for the next day.
The city also is tense because it’s the site of a race massacre in 1921 in which as many as 300 people were killed.
Concerns of the rally go beyond race, as the state is still battling coronavirus and has seen an recent uptick in cases.
Trump, in another tweet Friday, also said he views his rally in Tulsa as the re-launch of his reelection campaign, saying, “Big crowds and lines already forming in Tulsa. My campaign hasn’t started yet. It starts on Saturday night in Oklahoma!”
The rally is expected to draw as many as 100,000 Trump supporters, some of whom had lined up outside the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, days before the rally.
Trump claimed this week that over a million people had requested tickets for the event and his campaign has been exploring possible venues for an overflow crowd.
Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt backed the rally when he met with Trump at the White House Thursday at an unrelated event focused on government assistance for small businesses.
Stitt assured that the rally would be safe even as the city’s health official has called an event like the rally “a huge risk factor” for spreading the coronavirus.
“It’s a crowd like, I guess, nobody’s seen before. We have tremendous, tremendous requests for tickets, I think, probably has never happened politically before,” Trump said, bragging about the demand for tickets to his first rally amid the ongoing pandemic and telling Stitt one of reasons his campaign chose Oklahoma was because the state has handled the pandemic “incredibly well.”
“We’re so excited to have you,” Stitt told Trump. “And like you said, I don’t know if people caught that but over a million people have requested tickets to come to come to this event so it’s just gonna be amazing.”
Trump campaign spokesperson Erin Perrine told ABC News the campaign “takes the health and safety of rally-goers seriously and is taking precautions to make the rally safe,” including checking the temperatures of attendees and providing them with face masks and hand sanitizer.
ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.