OKLAHOMA CITY — Close to 1,000 Trump supporters gathered peacefully Wednesday outside the state Capitol to protest results of the presidential election. Unlike Washington, D.C., lawmakers were not in session at the state Capitol.
Carrying signs that read “Stop the Steal” and waving Trump 2020 flags, many of the protesters said they are convinced cheating permeated the 2020 presidential election and resulted in the loss of the Republican incumbent President Donald Trump, although recounts, courts reviews and other checks on the system have not supported the allegations, and instead have verified the original outcome.
Chants of “USA, USA!” filled the south Capitol plaza at times as speakers prayed for America and expressed hopes that Democrat President-elect Joe Biden would not be inaugurated later this month.
Mary Roberts, 44, of Owasso, who was attending her first rally at the Capitol, said, “So we’re just here to support our president and fight for our country and stop the steal."
Roberts, who voted for the first time in 2020, carried a sign claiming that Trump won and also predicted that he’ll be inaugurated later this month for another four-year term.
Drivefor45Oklahoma supporters organized the rally so that it would occur as federal lawmakers met to certify the Electoral College vote in Washington, D.C.
Participants said they hoped their presence would encourage the members of Oklahoma’s federal delegation to continue their efforts to challenge Biden’s victory.
Trump and his supporters across the country continue to dispute the validity of the November election even though the outgoing president lost both the Electoral College and popular votes. Trump has claimed without evidence that he won the election.
Roberts and her long-time friend Rebecca Brese, 43, of Claremore, also said they considered driving 18 hours to participate in a planned D.C. protest, but ultimately decided against it because they’d never been there and they were concerned about crowd sizes.
Brese said, “We’re just here to support him. He’s done right by the people, and I think he deserved our vote. That’s why we’re here to support President Trump.”
She also said Biden will have a difficult time uniting the country after he’s inaugurated.
The protest in Oklahoma, where there were no reported problems, was in stark contrast to events that were unfolding at the same time in Washington, D.C., where protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers and other staff to seek shelter.
“My staff and I are safe inside the Capitol complex,” wrote Oklahoma U.S. Congressman Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne. “I thank the Capitol police who are risking their safety to protect my colleagues and our staff. I unequivocally condemn the violence and riots seen today in and around the Capitol, and I pray for the restoration of peace.”
Oklahoma’s rally dissipated on its own after a light rain began to fall in the afternoon.
Chris Drew, 58, of Harrah, said Oklahoma’s protest was designed to be peaceful, in contrast to what unfolded in other cities.
Drew, who is a member of Drivefor45Oklahoma, said Trump has a lot of supporters in conservative Oklahoma.
He said Oklahomans just want their voices heard.
“The silent majority isn’t going to be silent any more,” he said.
Still, Drew said he doesn’t know what will happen next after Biden is inaugurated.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think anybody does. It’s the proverbial million dollar question probably.”
Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites. Reach her at email@example.com.