Looking back on record number of Trump administration visits to Oklahoma

TULSA, Okla. — Win or lose, the number of visits President Donald Trump and his administration made to the State of Oklahoma will be difficult to top by any future President of the United States regardless of party.

No president will likely ever top the number of times Trump and his team visited Tulsa alone.

Trump and his administration visited Oklahoma more times in the last four years than any president regardless of party in state history whether or not you include his visits as then-Republican presidential candidate Trump in 2016 when he was running for his party’s nomination that would eventually land him the White House over Hillary Clinton.

Trump stopped by the State Fair of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City in September 2015, and then he came to Tulsa and campaigned in the Mabee Center in January 2016.

Though Trump would go on to lose the 2016 Oklahoma Republican Presidential Primary to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Trump never appeared bitter toward the state and considered Oklahomans and most of its elected officials to be friends and political allies.

The first official administration visit came from Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson to speak at the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 2017. Inside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a HUD field office, and Carson paid his respects to employees that likely would’ve been under his supervision had the bombing never happened in addition to him giving the keynote speech.

In the 2018 Republican Gubernatorial Primary, then-Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb sought and received the endorsement of Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. Lamb would hold a campaign event with Trump Jr. in Oklahoma City, but he would go on to lose the nomination to Gov. Kevin Stitt in the summer of 2018.

Vice President Mike Pence would arrive on Air Force Two at Tulsa International Airport in October 2018 to campaign for Stitt as he ran for governor. Pence launched a fierce attack on Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate and Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, vaguely painting him as corrupt liberal and a career politician.

After the 2018 election, First Lady Melania Trump visited Tulsa in February 2019 to see with students at the Dove School of Discovery in south Tulsa to champion school choice and her “Be Best” campaign against cyberbullying.

A few months after the first lady’s visit, Pence returned once again, that time with Second Lady Karen Pence to the Tulsa area with federal emergency managers to assess historic flooding in Green Country.

Pence helped pack up food boxes at the Regional Food Bank and then went to visit the Town and Country neighborhood west of Sand Springs where he met one-on-one with residents still cleaning up and rebuilding their houses.

Pence and Trump would return almost exactly one year later to hold a campaign rally at the BOK Center, as they relaunched their campaign for a second term in the White House after many campaign activities had ceased due to COVID-19.

Trump and Pence also brought their family members with them to the Tulsa rally where Trump’s son Eric met personally with people on the BOK Center floor while addressing the entire crowd with his wife. Congressman Greg Pence, the Vice President’s brother, also came to Tulsa to stump for a second term for the Trump-Pence campaign.

Tulsa joined the ranks of just a few cities that have ever hosted the President and Vice President of the United States outside of an official political convention at the same time. Trump even asked the pilots of Air Force One to do a flyover of Broken Arrow and much of Tulsa before landing at TIA to be escorted to his event.

In late-September 2020, Trump’s Attorney General William Barr visited Tahlequah to speak with the Cherokee Nation about tribal sovereignty and criminal justice issues after the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision that declared when Oklahoma became a state, Congress never dissolved the Indian reservations that belonged to the Five Civilized Tribes.

It is the personal attention Trump gave Oklahoma that could very easily explain how the state became the one to vote for Trump in all of its counties with no blue showing a majority anywhere for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

In the past, Oklahomans have had to settle for airport fly-in visits, high-security events from a president or an administration official, or they have only seen anyone from the White House during tornado damage like Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama did.

The only other President and First Lady combo to visit Oklahoma more than once are Bill and Hillary Clinton for campaign events and the large memorial service in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. Bill Clinton has spent much of his time post-presidency attending numerous events to raise money for the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.