“We’re going to start our rallies back up now. We’ve had a tremendous run at rallies,” Trump said.
Harris, a California Democrat, blasted Trump’s decision to hold the rally there on Juneteenth.
Asked on Thursday what Juneteenth means to Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “The African American community is very near and dear to his heart. At these rallies he often shares the great work he has done for minority communities,” citing criminal justice reform and (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) funding.
She continued, “He’s working on rectifying injustices … So it’s a meaningful day to him and it’s a day where he wants to share some of the progress that’s been made as we look forward and more that needs to be done.”
The President has been anxious to get back out on the trail since in-person campaigning stopped. His campaign had originally drawn up plans to restart rallies in July, but it pushed up the timeline as more states started reopening their economies and as big crowds have taken part in demonstrations across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death.
The campaign believes those crowds at the protests have opened the door to events like these rallies, despite the warnings from public health officials that social distancing, facial coverings and limited public interaction are still necessary to prevent a second spike of the virus.
“Where we go, we will make sure it is safe to hold a rally and what safety precautions we put in place. We will talk about when we know exactly what kind of venue that it is that we are talking about,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Fox during an interview on Wednesday. “But I would point out to the national media that I don’t remember them doing any social distancing shaming when they were doing all the coverage of the demonstrations that were going on.”
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s guidance to reopen the state still recommends its residents to minimize time spent in “crowded environments” but doesn’t place limits on group gatherings.
The relaunch of Trump campaign rallies also comes as Republican officials are looking to move parts of the party’s national convention in August. The Republican National Committee elected to move much of the major programming out of the host city of Charlotte, North Carolina, in part because the Democratic governor and other officials in the state would not promise the convention could take place without precautions like social distancing and facial coverings.
This story has been updated to include racial history about Tulsa and include Kamala Harris’ response.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.