President Donald Trump issued a vague threat on Friday to those who plan to protest at his campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted. “It will be a much different scene!”
Trump’s threat is a stunning escalation of his hostility toward demonstrators who have been protesting against him and police brutality for the past several weeks. The President’s infamous “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet, which Twitter stamped with a warning label for “glorifying violence,” did not specifically mention protesters.
The upcoming rally has raised safety concerns with regards to not only COVID-19, but also potentially violent clashes between anti-Trump protesters, pro-Trump counter-protesters and the police.
Two-hundred-fifty Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers with pepper spray and batons will be deployed at the rally.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has set a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the area surrounding the rally arena until Sunday.