Trump's Tulsa rally to kick off re-election campaign fails to meet expectations

With less than 150 days until the election, the president’s re-election faces civil unrest across the country, continuing COVID-19 pandemic and scrutiny from his former national security adviser.
11:21 | 06/23/20

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Transcript for Trump's Tulsa rally to kick off re-election campaign fails to meet expectations
Good evening. Thanks for joining us. John Bolton complicaing his search for a second term. So does a disappointing rally turnout in Tulsa threaten president trump's run for election? We begin in Oklahoma, thank you, Oklahoma. And thank you to vice president Mike pence. We begin, we begin our campaign. Reporter: President trump back on the campaign trail for the first time since the pandemic. I stand before you today to declare the silent majority is stronger than ever before. Reporter: Kickstarting his bid for re-election. But it's clear, this is not The hype was huge, he claimed 1 million people asked for the crowd but modest. Noticeably empty seats in the arena he promised would be packed. Were the audiences over it? Reporter: Tonight, with less than 150 days until election day, a look at what may be the tumultuous road ahead for the playing out against the backdrop of a new surge in coronavirus cases. Civil unrest over racial injustice in the nation. And the commander in chief coming under attack from his own former national security adviser. Are you saying that all decisions the president made were driven by re-election? I didn't see anything where that wasn't a major factor. The event in Oklahoma is unbelievable. Reporter: On the south lawn, spirits were high as the president departed for Oklahoma, a state he won by 36 percentage in Tulsa, trump's campaign boasted it had 1 million people registered for the rally, the largest indoor event since March. But hours before, six members of the advance team tested positive for covid-19. The event drawing criticism from the beginning. Originally scheduled on juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery. Despite officials warning against holding large indoor rally, trump tweeted the fake news media which had no problem with rioters and looters is trying to covid shame us in our big rallies. Won't work. I don't think the president knows anything other than to hold large gatherings of people that are adoring to him and tell him he's great. Reporter: Saturday, thousands of supporters showed up. Crowding into the bok center. Rachel Scott was on the ground. Reporter: You're from out of state. Why did you decide to travel in? Once I heard he had a rally, I'm in. Reporter: Masks offered at the door, and temperature checks. I have a mask, and I do not plan to wear it. I'm not concerned about it at all. Reporter: This family traveled from Alabama. He has a policy to continue to build our country, and bring back our economy. And have a future for our kids Reporter: As a family, do you plan to go inside the arena and wear masks? No, we're not. We're just going to go in. Reporter: The crowd far smaller than anticipated. Fewer than 6,200 people showed up. Leaving the campaign to abandon plans for trump and pence to speak to an overflow area outside. But inside, the president seemingly in his element. Five months from now, we're going to defeat sleepy Joe Biden. Reporter: Covering a wide range of topics, downplaying the risk of covid-19, which has killed more than 120,000 Americans to date. Testing is a double-edged sword. When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please. Reporter: His team later putting out a statement that he was just joking. He then seemed to mock the virus with this racially offensive comment. If you could have heard the reports, oh, it's covid. By the way, it's a disease without question, has more names than any disease in history. I can name Kung flu. I can name 19 different versions of names. Reporter: He spent 14 minutes setting the record straight on the west point graduation where some said the president looked I would have been better off if I fell and slid down the damn ramp, right? Reporter: Yet in a city that suffered the most horrific racial violence in modern history in 1921, there was no mention of racial tensions. He failed to mention juneteenth or the police killing of George Floyd. Instead, he defended confederate monuments. The left-wing mob is trying to desecrate our beautiful monuments and get rid of our history. Reporter: Meanwhile, outside, What we're dealing with today is just a continuation of what happened. Reporter: But despite Oklahoma's governor calling in hundreds of National Guard and a civil emergency being declared, protests were peaceful. That night, the president returned to the white house. He had the Maga cap in his hands, he looked down. His tie was loosened. This was a president who usually strides purposefully into the white house, he was trudging, almost. Reporter: Sunday, the talk shows weighing in. President trump struggles to get the country and his campaign back on-track. Reporter: The Biden campaign also seizing the moment. Addressing trump's coronavirus remarks. Tweeting I can't believe I have to say this. But we should be speeding up testing, not slowing it down. I would say the president's weekend was not what he expected and not what he wanted. And he ended up with less than 7,000 people, and empty chairs. And the John Bolton rollout of his book undercuts him at so many different levels. But the most important is leadership. Reporter: The fallout from Bolton's first broadcast interview. Telling Martha Raddatz that the president should not be re-elected. How do you think history will remember Donald Trump? I hope it will remember him as a one-term president who didn't plunge the country into a downward spiral. We can get over one term. Two terms, I'm more troubled about. Reporter: In his book "The room where it happened," trump is described as irrational and foolish. Putting his personal interests ahead of the country's. A lot of people complain he has a short attention span. When it comes to re-election, it's infinite. Reporter: Calling the president susceptible to flattery and manipulation. And that he's stunningly uninformed and unwilling to learn. You say in the book that trump asked general Kelly if Finland was part of Russia? He said those things, absolutely. When you're dealing with somebody who asks questions like that, it's very hard to know how to proceed. Reporter: He also accuses president trump of obstruction of justice as a way of life. He was impeached for something Bolton now says he heard firsthand. The New York Times reported on that August conversation, and the president denied it. Tweeting I never told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats. Is the president lying? Yes, he is. And it's not the first time, either. Reporter: Bolton was widely criticized for refusing to testify to congress. He says the impeachment was politically motivated. You can certainly understand why your critics say, why didn't he come forward before? Why is he making a profit now? It has nothing to do with making a profit. It has everything to do with the constitutional responsibilities of the branches of government are carried out the right way. Reporter: This morning, trump tweeting out insults. I gave John Bolton a chance. I always like hearing different points of view. He turned out to be grossly incompetent. See judge's opinion, classified information. A judge concluding that Bolton has likely published classified terms without government clearance, and may face penalties. A claim Bolton disputes. At the white house today, damage control. The president was very pleased with the rally. Reporter: So far, the president has remained silent on crowd size. We almost never hear from Donald Trump bringing bad news about his performance. He's a good news guy, he's a salesman. Reporter: The white house also defending the racially insensitive term. The president does not believe it's offensive to note this virus came from cchina. Thank you, Oklahoma. Reporter: This afternoon, the trump campaign confirming two additional staffers at the rally tested positive for covid. Tomorrow, the president is set to take the stage in yuma, Arizona. Team trump knows how to do rallies and elect Donald Trump president through them. What if you can't? That's the crisis they're facing. They have to reinvent what trumpian politicians looks like. Reporter: For now, team trump is hoping the old playbook will lead to a win in November.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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