2 Trump campaign staffers who were at the president's Tulsa rally tested positive for COVID-19

2 Trump campaign staffers who were at the president's Tulsa rally tested positive for COVID-19
REUTERS/Leah Millis
  • At least eight advance team staffers who were involved in President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on Saturday have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Two of the staffers actually attended the rally, the campaign announced on Monday, adding that they were wearing masks throughout the event.
  • Prior to the rally, public health experts expressed concerns that it could become a superspreader event for COVID-19.
  • Despite such concerns and the rising number of cases in Oklahoma and elsewhere, Trump went ahead with the rally.

Two staffers on President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection campaign who were at the president's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19, the campaign announced on Monday.

This brings the total number of Trump advance team staffers infected with coronavirus who were involved with the rally to at least eight, including two Secret Service agents. Six of these staffers helped set up the rally but the Trump campaign said they did not attend after it was discovered they were infected, and quarantine measures were immediately initiated.

The additional two staffers were found to have the virus after the Tulsa rally when they were tested as a precaution for flying home, Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, told Monica Alba of NBC News.

"After another round of testing for campaign staff in Tulsa, two additional members of the advance team tested positive for the coronavirus. These staff members attended the rally but were wearing masks during the entire event," Murtaugh told NBC News.

Top public health experts raised concerns about Trump holding a rally amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to roughly 120,000 reported deaths in the US thus far. The general worry was that the rally could become a superspreader event for the virus.


White House coronavirus advisers Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among those who expressed consternation over the rally, according to NBC News, but Trump still went ahead with it. The president has repeatedly dismissed guidance from his own experts, including a recommendation for people to wear masks or face-coverings when in public.

Local officials were also worried that the event could contribute to the spread of the virus, with cases on the rise in recent days. "I'm not positive that everything is safe," Mayor GT Bynum, a Republican, said last Wednesday when discussing Trump's rally.

Coronavirus case data tends to lag roughly two weeks behind new infections, given the nature of the virus, so it's too soon to know whether Trump's rally contributed to a surge in cases. But Oklahoma officials on Monday reported 478 new coronavirus cases, a record high for the state.

2 Trump campaign staffers who were at the president's Tulsa rally tested positive for COVID-19
A supporter sits alone in the top sections of seating as Vice President Mike Pence speaks before President Donald Trump arrives for a "Make America Great Again!" rally at the BOK Center on Saturday, June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Though the Trump campaign expected a massive turnout at the Tulsa rally, only about 6,200 people attended the event at the Bank of Oklahoma Center, an arena that can hold a little over 19,000. The president was reportedly shocked and enraged over the low turnout.


The rally in Tulsa was Trump's first such campaign event since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. Trump's next campaign event is set to occur in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday.

A recent Insider survey of public officials from several 2020 battlegrounds revealed a number of places do not want to host political rallies for Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden anytime soon due to concerns over COVID-19.