“I like that he’s created more jobs, I like that he’s pro-life, he sticks up for Christians,” said Shelly Braden, 48, a schoolteacher from Lamont, Okla., who said she believed the chances of contracting the virus were “low.”
Mr. Trump drew widespread criticism when his administration ordered aggressive police action to clear peaceful protesters in order to be photographed holding a Bible, but to some, the image appeared to break through in a positive way. “I’ve seen him on TV praying, I’ve seen him on TV with a Bible in his hand,” Ms. Williams said.
In an interview on Thursday, State Representative James White, Republican of Texas, expressed confidence that social distancing would be achievable at the rally because, he said, any event put on by the president would certainly adhere to safety protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a federal agency.
“I don’t see why the president would violate his own guidelines,” said Mr. White, a Trump surrogate who plans to attend the rally. “If I get there and people are on top of each other, that would look kind of interesting because I believe the C.D.C. works for the president.”
On Saturday masks were handed out, but wearing them was not enforced. Attendees did, however, undergo temperature checks, though that would not prevent individuals who have the virus but are asymptomatic from attending.
Few of those lined up to see Mr. Trump seemed concerned about maintaining significant distances from one another. People jammed up next to each other in line on Saturday, where cheering, chatting and the occasional cough took place in proximity to fellow attendees.