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Trump Pushes Tulsa Rally Back From Juneteenth But Frustrations Linger

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  • President Trump postponed his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally after outrage over the fact that he was planning to hold a campaign event on Juneteenth, in a city that was home to one of the country’s worst racist massacres.
  • His rally will now be on the 20th, but there are still lingering concerns about it. Health experts fear it will further the spread of the virus in Tulsa and exacerbate the pandemic.
  • The Editorial Board of The Tulsa World also wrote a piece saying it should be further postponed, citing the virus and the tensions a Trump rally would bring to the city right now.

Trump Postpones Rally

Even after President Donald Trump moved his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma from Juneteenth to June 20, concerns and frustrations about his plans to hold a rally in the city have lingered.

This will be Trump’s first rally since the coronavirus stopped large gatherings of people in March. However, the decision to hold it in Tulsa has stirred controversy. 

In 1921, Tulsa was the site of a race massacre that killed up to hundreds of people, in what is considered to be one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history. The idea that Trump would hold a rally there on Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the day slaves in Texas were emancipated, also known as Freedom Day, sparked outrage.

Many thought this was insensitive timing, especially considering the protests against systemic racism and violence against black people going on across the nation, and the fact that many believe Trump has only fueled the racism many are trying to fight against. 

On Friday night, Trump announced he would postpone the rally to June 20, but this did not solve the issue for anyone. 

Concerns Remain

Escalating racial tensions in the country aside, many are worried about the rally being a breeding ground for the coronavirus. The Director of the Tulsa Health Department, Dr. Bruce Dart, says he would rather the event be postponed until large gatherings might be safer. Cases are on the rise in Tulsa, and it will be hard to protect people from the virus in a crowded indoor setting. Those attending the rally also have to sign a waiver promising not to sue if they get COVID-19.

On Monday morning, a local paper in the city, The Tulsa World published an editorial saying that “This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally.”

“Tulsa is still dealing with the challenges created by a pandemic. The city and state have authorized reopening, but that doesn’t make a mass indoor gathering of people pressed closely together and cheering a good idea,” members of the paper’s editorial board wrote. “There is no treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine. It will be our health care system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow.’

The piece then emphasized that this is the “wrong time” for a Trump rally because the country is still in the middle of dealing with the protests and tensions sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

“Trump, a divisive figure, will attract protests, the vast majority of which we expect to be peaceful. But there may also be confrontation and inappropriate behavior from some,” The Tulsa World wrote. “His 2016 Tulsa rally provoked a heated response for some, and his ability to provoke opponents has only grown since then.”

The editorial explained that Tulsa will have to strain its public resources to deal with any fallout that happens because of this rally and related protests. The piece also claimed that his rally would do little to sway the election, and was in the wrong place historically.

“There’s no reason to think a Trump appearance in Tulsa will have any effect on November’s election outcome in Tulsa or Oklahoma,” the piece continued. “It has already concentrated the world’s attention of the fact that Trump will be rallying in a city that 99 years ago was the site of a bloody race massacre.”

Viral Responses to Rally

Online, many have tried to thwart the success of Trump’s rally. Many on Twitter encouraged people to reserve seats to the rally online and not go so that Trump walks out to an empty crowd. A viral TikTok suggested the same tactic.

Though, it is unlikely that this effort will be successful because the venue releases more tickets than the arena can hold. On Monday morning Trump tweeted that almost one million people had requested tickets, while the venue seats 19,000. Even if the vast majority of ticket requests came from trolls trying to foil the president’s plans, as long as around two percent of those tickets were requested in sincerity, he could still see a full house. 

Another viral tweet floating around showed a Craigslist post requesting actors for a June 20 event in Tulsa. 

“Excited and enthusiastic MINORITY actors and actresses needed to hold signs at event in Tulsa. Send headshot/resume for early consideration,” the post read. 

Many online are sharing it, and claiming Trump’s campaign team is hiring actors of color to attend the rally. However, when you try to see that post, it has been removed from Craigslist site, and it is reportedly under review by the company. While nothing pertaining to this has been verified one way or another, because of this removal, many believe the post may not have been real to begin with. 

See what others are saying: (Washington Post) (USA Today) (TIME)

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Amazon Backs GOP Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Effort to Ramp Up Lobbying

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The proposal is the first Republican-sponsored marijuana bill Amazon has backed since the company first began lobbying for legalization last summer.


Amazon Endorses States Reform Act

Amazon announced Tuesday that it is endorsing a Republican-backed proposal to legalize marijuana.

The move comes as the e-commerce giant has ramped up its efforts to legalize cannabis on the federal level since it came out in support of the idea last summer. Amazon argues that the move would remove hiring barriers — which disproportionately impact people of color — and, in turn, could increase the company’s application pool and boost employee retention.

The company has previously backed similar proposals by forward by Democrats, but Tuesday’s announcement marks the first time Amazon has put its support behind a Republican-sponsored bill aimed at addressing the issue.

The legislation, called the States Reform Act, was authored by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). Among other measures, it would remove cannabis as a Schedule I substance, allow states to create their own laws, impose an excise tax, and regulate the drug in a similar fashion to alcohol.

While Mace’s bill is fundamentally very similar to others put forth by Democrats, by proposing it herself, the Republican hopes to rally other members of her party around the idea that legalization is pro-business, pro-state’s rights, and anti-big government.

The measure has already received support from the highly influential conservative group, American’s for Prosperity, which is funded by the Koch brothers.

Potential Momentum

Mace and Amazon have painted the company’s endorsement as a game-changer for garnering more support — both from other large corporations and politicians on either side of the aisle. Mace specifically told reporters she believes Amazon’s decision will push other companies to do the same. If more major corporations like Amazon back the effort, other Republicans may be more persuaded to jump on board.

That sentiment was echoed by Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, who said in an interview with The Washington Post that the company was “particularly excited by Congresswoman Mace’s bill because it shows that there’s bipartisan support for this issue.”

Huseman also emphasized that, as part of its decision to back her bill, Amazon will use its powerful influence in Washington to try and drum up bipartisan support.

“We are talking with members of both parties, including Republicans, about why we think this is the right thing to do, especially from the standpoint of a major employer and what this means for our business and our employees and broadening the employee base,” he continued.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Forbes) (Marijuana Moment)

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CDC Data Shows Booster Shots Provide Effective Protection Against Omicron

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Public health experts have encouraged Americans to get boosted to protect themselves against the omicron variant, but less than 40% of fully vaccinated people who are eligible for their third shot have received it.


A First Glimpse of Official Data on Boosters and Omicron

COVID-19 booster shots are effective at preventing Americans from contracting omicron and protecting those who do become infected from severe illness, according to three reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Friday.

The reports mark the first real-world data regarding the highly infectious variant and how it has impacted the U.S.

One of the CDC reports, which studied data from 25 state and local health departments, found that there were 149 cases per 100,000 people among those had been boosted on average each week. 

In comparison, the figure was 255 cases per 100,000 people in Americans who had only received two shots.

Another study that looked at nearly 88,000 hospitalizations in 10 states found that the third doses were 90% effective at preventing hospitalization. 

By contrast, those who received just two shots were only 57% protected against hospitalization by the time they were eligible for a booster six months after their second dose.

Additionally, the same report also found that the boosters were 82% effective at preventing visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers, a marked increase from the 38% efficacy for those who were six months out from their two-shot regime and had not yet received a third.

Low Booster Shot Vaccination Rates

Public health officials hope that the new data will urge more Americans to get their booster shots.

Since the emergence of omicron, experts and leading political figures have renewed their efforts to encourage people to get their third shots, arguing they are the best form of protection. 

The CDC currently recommends that everyone 12 and older get a booster shot five months after their second shot of Pfizer and Moderna or two months after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Still, in the U.S., less than 40% of fully vaccinated individuals eligible for a third shot have gotten one.

While COVID cases in the country have begun to drop over the past several days from their peak of over 800,000 average daily infections, the figures are still nearly triple those seen in the largest previous surges.

Hospitalizations have also slowly begun to level out over the last week in places that were hit first, such as New York City and Boston, but medical resources still remain strained in many parts of the country that experienced later surges and have not yet seen cases slow.

Some experts predict that the U.S. will see a sharp decline in omicron cases, as experienced in South Africa and Britain. Still, they urge American’s to get boosted to ensure their continued protection from the variant, as well as other strains that will emerge.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNN) (The New York Times)

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California Bill Would Allow Kids 12 and Up to Get Vaccinated Without Parental Consent

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Nearly one million California teens and preteens between the ages of 12 and 17 are not vaccinated against COVID-19. 


State Senator Proposes Legislation

Legislation proposed in California on Thursday would allow children age 12 and up to get vaccinated without parental consent. 

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Bill 866 in the hope it could boost vaccination rates among teenagers. According to Wiener, nearly one million kids aged 12- to 17-years old remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 in the state of California. 

“Unvaccinated teens are at risk, put others at risk & make schools less safe,” Wiener tweeted. “They often can’t work, participate in sports, or go to friends’ homes.”

“Many want to get vaccinated but parents won’t let them or aren’t making the time to take them. Teens shouldn’t have to rely on parents’ views & availability to protect themselves from a deadly virus.”

Currently, teens in California can receive vaccines for human papillomavirus and hepatitis B without parental consent. They can also make other reproductive or mental healthcare choices without a guardian signing off. Wiener argues that their medical autonomy should expand to all vaccines, especially during a pandemic that has already killed roughly 78,000 Californians. 

Vaccine Consent Across the U.S.

“Teens shouldn’t have to plot, scheme or fight with their parents to get a vaccine,” he said. “They should simply be able to walk in & get vaccinated like anyone else.”

Bill 866 would allow any kids ages 12 and up to receive any vaccine approved or granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Pfizer’s COVID vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for those 16 and older. It has received emergency authorization for ages five through 15. 

Across the United States, vaccine consent ages vary. While the vast majority of states require parental approval for minors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, kids as young as 11 can get the jab on their own in Washington, D.C. In Alabama, kids can receive it without parental consent at 14, in Oregon at 15, and in Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, providers can waive consent in certain cases in Arkansas, Idaho, Washington, and Tennesee.

In October, California became the first state to announce plans to require that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine to attend class. The mandate has yet to take effect, but under the guidelines, students will be “required to be vaccinated for in person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span.” 

In other words, once the FDA gives a vaccine full approval for those aged 12 and up, it will be required the following session for kids in grades 7-12. Once it does so for kids as young as five, the same process will happen for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. There will also be room for exemptions from the mandate. 

The Fight to Vaccinate California

This week, a group of California state legislators formed a Vaccine Work Group in order to boost public health policies in the state. Wiener is among the several members who are “examining data, hearing from experts, and engaging stakeholders to determine the best approaches to promote vaccines that have been proven to reduce serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”

“Vaccines protect not only individuals but also whole communities when almost everyone is vaccinated at schools, workplaces and businesses, and safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have already prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” Sen. Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said in a press release. “Public safety is a paramount duty of government, and I am proud to join a talented group of legislators in the pro-science Vaccine Work Group who want to end this disastrous pandemic and protect Californians from death and disability by preventable diseases.”

While vaccine policies have been a divisive subject nationwide, including in California, state politicians and leaders are hopeful public health initiatives will prevail. 

“If we allow disinformation to drive our state policy making we will not only see more Americans needlessly suffer and die, but we will sacrifice the long term stability of our society having effectively abandoned the idea that we all must work together to protect each other in times of crisis.” Catherine Flores Martin, the Executive Director of the California Immunization Coalition, added. 

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (NBC News) (Sacramento Bee)

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