Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, claimed on Saturday that hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters had registered for tickets to Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The rally took place Saturday evening.
When Saturday came Trump’s rally only saw a sparse crowd of supporters. As Trump took the stage for the first campaign rally since March he was met with plenty of empty seats.
The arena holds 19,000 and the Trump campaign claimed that there were 12,000 in attendance, however, the Tulsa fire department states that only 6,200 people attended the rally.
Trump was so certain he would have a massive crowd that he had an “overflow stage” built outside the BOK Center so Trump and Pence could give brief comments to those who couldn’t get inside. Those speeches were canceled. Reportedly only 6 or 7 people wandered the parking lot while Trump spoke.
When Trump returned to Washington Saturday night his return was labeled by many as a” walk of shame.” Insiders say that Trump was embarrassed and furious about the “underwhelming event.”
According to CNN, Trump was not the only one furious about the event. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were angry that Parscale promised a huge crowd.
Parscale made a statement in which he blamed low attendance on “a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protesters”, which he said, “coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally”.
He then threatened to rescind accreditation for journalists critical of the Trump campaign.
“For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical,” he said. “And it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals.”
Parscale was commended for his work on Trump’s 2016 campaign, but in the current campaign, the pressure is on. Between the failed rally and his poor polling Trump is said to be considering a reorganization of his campaign.
Rick Wilson, who is an author and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump PAC, is critical of Parscale’s latest approach.
“Brad broke the first rule of American politics: under-promise and over-deliver,” Wilson said during an interview with the Guardian. “Brad’s survival now depends on the good offices of his patrons inside the Trump camp, and [Ivanka and Kushner] are already signaling their displeasure to the media. The only X factor is whether anyone else in Trump’s crew of skells [and] grifters … has offered to keep the scam running.”
Reportedly teen users of TikTok applied for tickets to Trump’s rally so that there would be empty seats.
“Trump has been actively trying to disenfranchise millions of Americans in so many ways, and to me, this was the protest I was able to perform,” Erin Hoffman, an 18-year-old New Yorker, told the New York Times.
The Trump campaign tried to blame low attendance on protesters, who they claimed blocked people from entering the rally. Reporters on the ground, however, have stated that they saw no protesters blocking anyone from entering.
Many health officials warned that the rally could spark new cases of COVID-19. Those who registered for tickets had to sign a waiver stating that they would not sue Trump or his administration if they became infected with the deadly virus. Those who attended the rally did not wear masks nor did they practice social distancing.