Donald Trump’s campaign has privately admitted that as many as 300,000 of the people who signed up for Saturday’s rally in Tulsa were online tricksters as the president’s fury mounts over the lack of attendance.
Trump and his campaign manager Brad Parscale bragged that one million tickets had been requested, only for the 19,000-seat BOK Center to have 6,200 people in it, according to Tulsa officials.
The high number of requests led the campaign to plan for an outdoor event to handle the expected overflow crowd – only have to cancel it at the last minute when people did not show up.
The worst case scenario was that 60,000 people would show up.
Their estimates were off by thousands and a furious Trump yelled at his staff backstage at the BOK Center before he went out to address the supporters who did show up.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican Party, argued on Monday that the 6,200 attendance number was wrong and that the number of people in the arena was at least doubled that.
‘I talked of the campaign this morning, and they said it was double that at least,’ she told Fox News. ‘I do think there was a little chaos in Tulsa and they disperse the crowds early that people in the front row who were camping out were forced to leave early.’
She attributed the low attendance to Sunday being Father’s Day.
‘You had it being on Father’s Day weekend, people who were scared about violence and coronavirus but people showed up and having 11 million people watch online shows that enthusiasm exists,’ she said.
And t White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump wasn’t angry at the crowd size.
‘The president was not angry at all, the president was quite energized, I was with him after the rally, it was a huge success, his speech got rave reviews. He was in great spirits on Marine One,’ she told Fox News Monday morning.
‘He was in very good spirits,’ she added.
Furious President Donald Trump yelled at staff backstage over the low turnout at his much-hyped rally in Tulsa on Saturday before he went out to address supporters
The President tees off at the Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia, Sunday
President Trump’s campaign denies claims that teens on social media and K-pop fans reserved the bulk of tickets for the rally in Tulsa on Saturday. The upper section of the BOK Center is partially empty during the event (above)
President Trump (left) was reportedly ‘furious’ at the ‘underwhelming’ crowd size in Tulsa on Saturday, though it appears that campaign manager Brad Parscale’s (right) job is safe for now
But, on Saturday night, Looking at row after row of empty blue seats, Trump was stunned and vented his frustration to his aides, reported, although Parscale was not present for the tongue-lashing.
There are no further campaign rallies scheduled. President Trump had said his campaign was planning events in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas – but nothing has been announced.
The president, who has no public events on his schedule for Monday, will be in Arizona on Tuesday to visit the border and address an assembly of youth. He’ll also travel to Wisconsin on Thursday to the Fincantieri Mariette Marine.
In a statement, the Trump campaign blamed the ‘fake news media’ for ‘warning people away from the rally’ over COVID-19 and protests against racial injustice around the country.
‘Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don´t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,’ Parscale wrote.
‘Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-Pop fans – without contacting the campaign for comment – behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade.’
Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for the Trump campaign, tweeted on Sunday: ‘Trolls thinking they hacked rally tix don’t know how this works.
‘Lame trick tried many times. We weed out bogus RSVPs with fake phone#s. All rallies are general admission. Real factor was media-stoked fear. Most media didn’t bother to ask us anyway.’
On Sunday, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign was grilled on by host Chris Wallace, who said ‘you guys look silly’ by ‘denying the reality of what happened’ in Tulsa.
‘[Trump] talks about how he can fill an arena, and he didn’t fill an arena last night,’ the Fox News Sunday host told Mercedes Schlapp, a former White House official who moved over to work for the campaign.
‘You guys were so far off that you had planned an outdoor rally and there wasn’t an overflow crowd. Protesters did not stop people from coming to that rally. The fact is, people did not show up.’