Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum took to Facebook for a long comment admitting that he is concerned about President Donald Trump's rally at the BOK Center. But he said that he isn't worried about the city's capacity to handle additional COVID-19 cases.
“Do I share anxiety about having a full house at the BOK Center? Of course," he wrote. "Our local hospital officials assure me their capacity remains strong. On Sunday, OSU Medical Center’s 120 COVID beds held 3 patients."
He also dispelled the myth from Vice President Mike Pence that the state and city have flattened the curve, saying, "It has started to rise, but it remains comparatively low."
Bynum also revealed that he wasn't even consulted about the Tulsa rally, despite being a Republican. Instead, it was the BOK center who called him, asking the city to pay for additional police and security forces. Trump's campaign doesn't pay for security at their campaign rallies, they pass the bill onto taxpayers.
Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) hasn't come out against the rally either, instead, he has been working with the Trump campaign to change the rally to an open-air location, said MSNBC's Chuck Todd. The host also said that the Trump campaign is "quietly" considering it and looking for alternatives. Todd said so they likely want to announce that they got such a huge response they had to move it to an open-air location.
In an interview with Todd and colleague Katy Tur, Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said "now is not the time," and expressed concern about the staff, which were furloughed already by the BOK Center.
She noted that they're expecting many people from multiple states like Kansas, high-coronavirus state Arkansas, Missouri and Texas to attend the rally or stand outside.
"People coming in from four to five states around our area into Tulsa, and likely a lot of these folks -- I don't know yet, I haven't walked down to talk to anybody -- but more than likely we'll have a lot of folks coming in from areas -- we don't know where they're from. we don't know if they're from a hot spot, and we've had a spike in recent days. So, it's just not the right time," she said.
Bynum's Facebook post prompted anger from Tulsans demanding he do something to keep Tulsa safe from Trump endangering residents.
"Mr. Mayor, sir. I'm so glad that you made sure that there's plenty of beds for the citizens to die in, but what happens when we run short? Just curious. I'm sure you've thought of everything," wrote Facebook user Lora Gambino.
"This is inexcusable," said David Blatt of Tulsa (not the basketball coach). "As a previously strong and vocal supporter of yous throughout your time in office, I am tremendously disappointed in your catastrophic failure of leadership on this. You are neglecting your responsibility as Mayor for the healthy and safety of Tulsans, and sad to say, the blood of those who get sick and die because of this rally will be on your hands."
"The citizens of Tulsa have been pretty transparent on this one," agreed Jennifer Lirojo. "And the president didn't advise your office of such a rally? The Tulsa County Health Dept. hasn't voiced its concerns? We are waiting to REACT to a spike in COVID cases and deaths? What a strange time to be alive. Mayor GT Bynum you are being called upon to listen to your citizens and LEAD despite pushback from the President or anyone else. Please help us restore our faith in you."
You can see the full post below:
See the MSNBC interview with Keith below: