CBS This Morning co-host Tony Dokoupil on Friday hypocritically huffed about the “moral” outrage of Donald Trump’s upcoming Tulsa rally, but told Senator James Lankford that the protests the country has seen recently are safe because they are not organized. After Dokoupil lectured the Republican by saying, “So why put public safety at risk for a political rally,” Lankford shot back by mentioning “gatherings like protests.”
Dokoupil replied with this nonsensical retort: “Protests are outdoor events and they're not organized by something like a major political party or the President of the United States.” Well, as long as protests aren’t officially organized or supported by the President, COVID threats can be ignored?
Trying to put the blame on Republicans, he continued, “A political rally is a voluntary thing. So from the outside looking in, it might appear to be putting politics over public safety. Can you respond to that directly?”
The sanctimonious Dokoupil then demanded that Lankford respond to the “moral” threat of the rally:
Senator, it's interesting that the Trump administration or the Trump campaign has had people sign liability waivers. So, if they do get sick at this event, they won't hold the campaign liable. That’s an acknowledgment of something. But forget legally. Let's talk morally. This is your state, these are your constituents. Have you thought about how you will feel if somebody gets sick or, God forbid, dies?
This is the same Dokoupil who in February used an actual pie to promote socialism and try to explain how the economic system makes sense.
A transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:17 AM ET
TONY DOKOUPIL: And President Trump's campaign tells CBS News that supporters who are at high risk from the coronavirus should avoid large gatherings like tomorrow night's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The state has reported its highest numbers of new infections yet for three consecutive days. And that number nearly doubled to 450 yesterday from Tuesday. Republican Senator James Lankford joins us now. He plans to attend that rally in Tulsa, and he's already there in Oklahoma City. Senator, good morning. We've got a lot to get to. I want to jump into it. Nobody in this country is holding the kind of indoor, large gathering that the President is planning for tomorrow. Not mega churches, not sports leagues. So why put public safety at risk for a political rally?
SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD: Yeah. There is — by the way, good morning to you, as well. There is a gathering like protests, like other events, shopping, the malls that are open, obviously there's a lot of people that are there. I said yesterday on a plane that was full of people coming back in. There is a lot of activity and interaction. We've seen numbers, as you just reported, coming up in Oklahoma, coming up in California, coming up in different places around the country. So this is -- this is a situation where people that are high risk have got to make sure they're taking care of themselves. But the challenge that we have now is isolation is what I heard from one of the scientists, right now what's going on with isolation is like holding a helium balloon down. You can hold it down and the economy down, but as soon as you let your hands off, it's going to rise. So it is a challenge for us. We can't hold the economy down forever.
DOKOUPIL: No. The question is not really about the economy. Of course, people want to get back outside. Protests are outdoor events, and they're not organized by something like a major political party or the President of the United States. Grocery shopping clearly has to happen, people have to take care of basic needs. A political rally is a voluntary thing. So from the outside looking in, it might appear to be putting politics over public safety. Can you respond to that directly?
LANKFORD: No. It's still -- still a participation by choice event. Lots of folks are going to watch it on TV. There's an outdoor gathering at the venue, as well, if people want to stay outside and be able to watch. For folks who want to come inside, they can also do this. We have 80 testing sites set up around the state. There's been encouragement all this past week from the health department to say if you're attending the rally, come get tested early. And so you can evaluate that for yourselves. Hand sanitizers, masks are provided there. Temperature checks. So there are things that are going on that are similar to other places on this. But again, everyone needs to be able to pay attention to this. They can come to the outside event, they can come to the inside event or stay at home and watch it.
DOKOUPIL: Yeah. Senator, it's interesting that the Trump administration or the Trump campaign has had people sign liability waivers. So, if they do get sick at this event, they won't hold the campaign liable. That’s an acknowledgment of something. But forget legally. Let's talk morally, this is your state, these are your constituents. Have you thought about how you will feel if somebody gets sick or, God forbid, dies?
DOKOUPIL: Let's talk about requirements for a second. You said face masks are going to be handed out, but they are not required inside the rally. The thing about face masks is they're not really for the individual, they're to protect others from the individual. So I'm curious, in your particular case, have you made up your mind? Will you be wearing a mask?
LANKFORD: I'll be wearing a mask most of the time. I'll have it off some of the time. Obviously in a gathering like that, it's hard to hear. So at times I may have to take it off so people can hear me and I can hear them at times. But I assume that I'm going to have it on a lot of the time. Interesting enough, I got home late last night, back from D.C., and went to a restaurant with my family. I was the only person in the restaurant wearing a mask. That is typical for Oklahoma.
DOKOUPIL: You take that to be a good thing or bad thing, Senator? Senator, is that a sign of progress?
LANKFORD: No, I was saying that is a thing. Oklahoma has been through seven weeks now of reopening. It's only been in the past week that we're seeing a bump in our numbers. And we know that's a reengagement that’s happening. Thankfully, our hospitalization numbers have only slightly ticked up. Our death numbers are still staying flat. So we’re learning how to manage this better as we go. But we are always attentive about what we can do to protect each other.
DOKOUPIL: All right, senator. I appreciate it. I'm glad we lingered on the rally. It is an important milestone event. We haven't had an event like this in the United States since the pandemic hit. So, we wish everyone the best of luck and, of course, the best of health, as well. Senator, thank you. We'll be right back.