After three months without a major campaign event, Trump’s rally in Tulsa, last night was to be a reunion with his biggest supporters.
But the jam-packed MAGA rally with massive crowds in a deep red state was not to be. Talking up the rally last week, Trump said nearly a million people had requested tickets to attend.
“We have a 22,000-seat arena, but I think we’re going to also take the convention hall next door, and that’s going to hold 40,000 … We expect to have a record-setting crowd. We’ve never had an empty seat, and we certainly won’t in Oklahoma.”
Trump was focused intently this last week on the event and said to a group of Oklahomans invited to the White House,
“… it’s a crowd like, I guess, nobody’s seen before. We have tremendous, tremendous requests for tickets like, I think, probably has never happened politically before.”
But that was hype, it seems and two hours before the rally was set to begin, people who had signed up for tickets received an urgent text message from the Trump campaign,
“The Great American Comeback Celebration’s almost here! There’s still space!”
Yes, there was lots of space. Some 13,000 empty seats according to the Tulsa Fire Marshall, who counted slightly less than 6,200 attendees at the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Arena Saturday night. (Can you imagine camping out for days only to find out, there was PLENTY of room?)
While Trump was in the air on his way, the campaign received reports that only about 25 people were in the outside overflow area. Just before Trump took the stage, construction crews began dismantling the area.
Trump blamed protesters outside the arena for scaring away supporters. He told the crowd,
“You are warriors. We had some very bad people outside. They were doing bad things. But I really do appreciate it.”
The campaign also blamed the media for reporting extensively on the risks associated with attending a massive indoor gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. Mask and social distancing were not required even as #coronapalooza was trending on Twitter.
According to CNBC,
Trump spent relatively little time on the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 Americans over the past five months. Nor did he acknowledge the fact that six members of his campaign advance team had just tested positive for coronavirus.
The few times Trump did bring up the pandemic, it was usually to downplay the virus’ risk, or defend his administration’s slow response and months long testing shortages.
“We have tested 25 million people by now, which is probably 20 million people more than anybody else. Germany has done a lot; South Korea has done a lot. But here’s the bad part: when you do testing to that extent, you will find more cases!”
“So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please. They test and they test.”
Later he turned to his political opponent,
“Joe Biden has surrendered to his party and to the left-wing mob. He has no control. Does anybody honestly think he controls these maniacs? … He has absolutely no control.”
If the Democrats gain power, the rioters will be in charge, and no one will be safe. No one will have control. Joe Biden is not the leader of his party. Joe Biden is a helpless puppet of the radical left.”
And now when the country is working to identify and address systemic racism, Trump repeatedly bragged that he had helped Black Americans during his presidency. And slammed Biden, of course.
“Virtually every policy that has hurt Black Americans for the last half a century, Joe Biden has supported or enacted.
I have done more for the Black community in four years than Joe Biden has done in 47 years.”
After two hours plus of that kind of rhetoric, Trump left Tulsa having spent just three hours there leaving six campaign staffers who tested positive in their hotel rooms, quarantined for the foreseeable future.
So, why the low turn-out?
One reason maybe have been that K-pop fans on TikTok reserved thousands of tickets as a prank, and they encouraged others to do the same.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted to Brad Parscale
“Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID.
K-Pop allies, we see and appreciate your contributions in the fight for justice too.”
This is not out of character for K-pop stans, who just this month have raised $1 million for Black Lives Matter, flooded racist hashtags on Twitter, and shut down the Dallas Police Department’s eyewitness app.
If this is what happened (it IS!) it’s a massive 21st century political prank, that could likely be repeated by Republicans if/when Biden hits the campaign trail. That is, if Trump HAD any organized, smart, young fans. (Btw, if tickets were free and unlimited, how did reserving tickets and not using them prevent Trumpers from going…?)
Here are some of his nuttiest moments from last night. If you can stand to watch.
Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud. ☺️ https://t.co/jGrp5bSZ9T
My daughter has been telling me about this all week. https://t.co/7FcwwcD7L7— Jeff Jensen (@EWDocJensen) June 20, 2020
And Randy Rainbow is NOT having it…
So far he’s received standing ovations for making racist jokes, mocking 120k dead Americans and drinking a glass of water with one hand. If this fucker gets a Netflix special before me I swear to god…— Randy Rainbow (@RandyRainbow) June 21, 2020