Due to an expected overflow for his campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday, both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had planned on addressing the crowd outside the BOK center before the main rally for the first time.
Those plans were canceled, however, when the crowd fell significantly short of the numbers the campaign was expecting.
According to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, there were more than one million requests for tickets to the event, so why did they have a problem filling the arena?
It all started on Thursday night, when Trump supporters started to line up for seats and were told late Thursday night there was an emergency curfew put in place. Then there were alleged threats from outside groups who vowed to go to the Tulsa rally to disrupt it and go after Trump’s supporters.
Yet another problem for the campaign — reports of attempted sabotage. According to reports, social media users claimed a TikTok prank ended up in a bunch of bogus requests for tickets for the event. Teens were allegedly hammering the Trump website with ticket requests even though none of them ever planned on going to the rally.
The prank, if it was really a prank, could have led the Trump campaign to believe it was going to have enough attendees to hold two events. However, Parscale denied this claim on Sunday.
“Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool,” he said in a statement obtained by The Hill. “These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”
Blame it on…
Many of the pictures that were taken about rally attendance were well before the event started or well after it ended, though they were not always clearly captioned. But while there is no denying there were empty seats in the upper bowl, what is to blame varies on who you believe.
Was it TikTok teens, restrictions on how many people could attend, or were rallygoers scared off by media reports of rising coronavirus cases or the threats of protests and conflict at the event?
Communications Director Tim Murtaugh blamed it on the latter, stating, “President Trump is rallying in Tulsa with thousands of energetic supporters, a stark contrast to the sleepy campaign being run by Joe Biden from his basement in Delaware. Sadly, protestors interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally,” Murtaugh added.
Parscale provided a similar account on Twitter Sunday:
Radical protestors, fueled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally.
They even blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering.
Thanks to the 1,000s who made it anyway!https://t.co/eM2nohMEy6
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 20, 2020
Regardless of what was to blame, the rally attendance had to be a bit of a disappointment for Trump.