Many of the thousands of Trump supporters at the rally did not wear masks or stand six feet apart — health precautions that Mr. Trump himself has ignored. The campaign conducted temperature checks and handed out masks, yet health experts remained concerned that the event could be a dangerous incubator for the virus, spreading through the building’s recirculated air.
It was unclear whether fears about the virus kept Trump supporters away despite the president’s repeated efforts to dismiss the need for social distancing and other precautions.
A few hours before the event, the campaign disclosed that six Trump campaign staff members who had been working on the rally had tested positive for the coronavirus during a routine screening. Two members of the Secret Service in Tulsa also tested positive for the virus, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump, who was made aware of the sick campaign aides before departing for the rally, was incensed that the news was made public, according to two people familiar with his reaction.
While rallies are Mr. Trump’s favorite events, election-year politics has changed since his last one, on March 2. The coronavirus has largely shut down the campaign trail, and more recently the national political conversation has been dominated by a fierce debate over police violence against black Americans after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Mr. Floyd’s death has sparked global protests against systemic racism and demands for police reform.
But the altered political landscape has had little effect on the president, whom advisers describe as feeling like a caged animal during the national lockdown that forced him to abandon most travel. They say he is determined to recapture the excitement of his pre-virus campaign rallies, but this one seemed unlikely to offer much relief to Mr. Trump.
He flew to Oklahoma amid mounting questions about the firing of Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney in Manhattan, whose office had investigated some of the president’s closest allies, imprisoning Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, and began an inquiry into Rudolph W. Giuliani, his current lawyer.
On Saturday morning, Attorney General William P. Barr announced that Mr. Trump had personally approved Mr. Berman’s firing. But only hours later, as Mr. Trump left the White House for the trip to Tulsa, the president said that “we have a very capable attorney general, so that’s really up to him. I’m not involved.”