President Donald Trump kicked off his reelection campaign in Tulsa on Saturday, June 20, with an underwhelming showing inside the BOK Center. Campaign officials said they expected more than 20,000 to attend the rally after receiving more than 1 million online ticket requests. City officials said they expected up to 100,000 people downtown, resulting in numerous businesses closing and many boarding their windows.
Less than 6,200 people attended the campaign rally, according to reports. An outdoor stage was shut down early in the evening. The rally was held as Oklahoma's COVID-19 cases surged day-over-day leading up to the weekend.
Outside the barricades, Trump supporters and protesters gathered near West Fourth Street and South Boulder Avenue for most the day. Around 3 p.m. a small group of about 15 protesters shut down the gate considered the main entrance. Tulsa Police pushed back the group and reopened the spot to allow supporters to enter the rally.
Protesters were led by Sincere Terry, who constantly yelled chants and directions into a megaphone as she guided protesters around downtown. The group grew into the hundreds after at least three mergers of smaller factions joined forces throughout the evening.
There were 250 National Guard mobilized as well as Tulsa Police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
A few punches were thrown and lots of shouting between the two camps, but overall it remained mostly peaceful. Just before 9 p.m. near the West Sixth Street and South Boulder Avenue intersection a man wearing a red hat and Trump shirt got out of his truck and maced two protesters then drove off.
As the rally neared its end, police moved into the entrance area at West Fourth Street and South Boulder Avenue and fired pepperballs. Police then backed off and protesters cleared the area, marching to Greenwood to join a block party.
The final stop for protesters was the historic Vernon A.M.E. Church, which was one of the few buildings to survive the Tulsa Race Massacre.
A note: The Trump campaign denied our media credential request for access to the event.