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Trump Rally Has Tulsa on Edge


“It’s a personal decision. I’m tested regularly. I feel that it’s safe for me not to be wearing a mask, and I’m in compliance with C.D.C. guidelines, which are recommended, but not required,” she said. In fact, health experts — including the president’s own advisers — have urged people to wear masks, especially in indoor settings where social distancing is difficult.

By late morning in Tulsa on Saturday, a steadily growing line of rallygoers had assembled. Some had traveled significant distances, but many other attendees were Tulsa locals or came from nearby states, like Kansas and Missouri, or elsewhere in deep-red Oklahoma. The crowd was overwhelmingly white, and in more than a dozen interviews, most people ranged in age from their 40s to their 60s, though a sizable number of attendees also brought their children.

No one interviewed expressed serious concerns about coronavirus risk at the rally.

“It’s all fake,” said Mike Alcorn, 40, who works in maintenance and lives in Wichita, Kan. “They’re just making the numbers up. I haven’t seen anybody die, not from coronavirus. I don’t even know anybody who’s got it.”

Cynthia Bellino, who said she arrived at the rally site at 3 a.m. with her daughter, was there to support Mr. Trump in part out of appreciation for the anti-abortion measures he backs, an issue several attendees raised as they gathered in this conservative state. She was aware of his faltering poll numbers, but said she was tuning them out.

“The polls the first time were completely wrong,” she said. “I don’t pay them any attention.”

Ben Fenwick, Katie Glueck and Astead W. Herndon contributed reporting from Tulsa.

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