“We’re advising people if they’re coming to the rally, if you have comorbidities, if you are older, or you have other health issues, don’t come,” Lankford said on Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Watch it on TV,” he added.
Lankford stopped short of joining public health experts who have condemned the Trump campaign’s decision to host the event indoors at the 19,000-capacity BOK Center, saying the president is “always welcome” to come to the state.
Lockdown measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus were eased in Oklahoma weeks ago and a fresh surge in infections was expected, Lankford said. He said the rise in cases wasn’t accompanied by an increase in hospitalizations or deaths.
People seeking tickets to Trump’s rally had to acknowledge a waiver on the Trump campaign website that they won’t sue organizers if they contract the coronavirus at the event.
The Trump campaign said it will hand out face masks and hand sanitizer to attendees. The president himself flouts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by refusing to wear a mask in public.
Lankford said wearing a mask would be “an individual decision” for rally attendees.
“The hard part about it, and I’ve tried to explain this to other folks, when you’re at a large gathering like that, as you know, it’s hard to be able to hear sometimes,” he said. “So there’s going to be times, they’re gonna pull masks on and off. That’s why I really encourage people, if you have other health issues, I discourage you from coming to the event. But a lot of folks are coming and the state is very excited about receiving the president.”
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