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US president, VP cancel planned outdoor addressed at Tulsa campaign event

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters cheer before the start of a campaign rally for US President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, 2020. (Photo by AP)

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a planned address to supporters outside the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma in face of reports that attendance would not meet the expectations of his campaign.

The Trump campaign said in a Saturday statement that the American president and Vice President Mike Pence would not give speeches at a separate stage outside the arena as was originally planned.

The Trump campaign in a statement blamed the lighter than expected turnout on the media and anti-racism protesters in the area.

"President Trump is rallying in Tulsa with thousands of energetic supporters, a stark contrast to the sleepy campaign being run by Joe Biden from his basement in Delaware," Trump’s communications director Tim Murtaugh boasted in a statement.

"Sadly, protesters interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally,” he further claimed, adding: "Radical protesters, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media, attempted to frighten off the President’s supporters. We are proud of the thousands who stuck it out." 

The campaign had advertised the dual speeches by the two as a special feature of Trump’s first campaign rally in months and a sign of the enthusiasm and turnout they were expecting in Tulsa.

Reporters on the ground shared photos and video of outside the arena just before the vice president was scheduled to take the stage, however, which showed a meager crowd in a huge area outside.

Inside the arena, the floor and lower bowl were filling up with more than an hour until the president's speech. Supporters were still filling in, but the arena had yet to reach capacity.

The US president often brags about the turnout at his events in exaggerated terms, and his campaign claimed it had received more than 1 million ticket requests ahead of the Tulsa rally.

However, the Saturday's campaign rally was taking place amid the coronavirus outbreak, where cases have surged in Oklahoma in recent days.

This is while six Trump campaign staffers tested positive for the contagion, the campaign further noted on Saturday, casting yet another doubt over the rally.

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