Donald Trump finally returned to the campaign trail on Saturday with a rally in Tulsa, but his great comeback was overshadowed by the disappointingly low attendance, which was initially overhyped because of a stunt pulled by thousands of teenagers around the country.Fewer than 6,200 people attended the president’s first rally since COVID-19 hit the United States, according to the Tulsa Fire Department – far short of the Bank of Oklahoma Center’s capacity of 19,000 and significantly less than the 1 million reservations that Trump boasted about just days prior.
With more than 1 million people registered to attend a crowd of 100,000 was expected to attend, and the campaign even set up and outdoor stage to accommodate for the overflow crowd – however, the plans to speak outside of the venue were eventually scrapped in light of the underwhelming attendance.
While Trump campaign communications director, Tim Murtaugh, disputed the Tulsa Fire Department’s attendance figure, saying “12,000 people went through the metal detectors so that number is way off,” the official response to why numbers were so low is that supporters were deterred from the event by radical protesters that blocked them from entering.
“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 said, according to CNN.
“Radical protestors, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media, attempted to frighten off the President’s supporters. We are proud of the thousands who stuck it out.”
However, the true reason behind the rally’s low numbers appears to be a movement led by American teens and K-pop fans using social media platform TikTok, who made hundreds of thousands of reservations to the rally in an attempt to troll the president, due to the fact that they won’t be allowed to vote in November’s presidential election.
“Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go,” one woman joked, along with a fake cough, in a TikTok posted on June 15.
The Trump campaign responded by rejecting the idea that teenagers were responsible for the low turnout, saying that RSVPs don’t prevent rally goers from attending and that tickets are issued outside the venue on a first come, first serve basis.
“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. 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,” said Trump 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale in a statement.
“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. These phoney 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. The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally.”
Another disastrous development in the Tulsa debacle was when 6 campaign staffers tested positive for COVID-19, which was an inherent risk when Trump decided to resume the campaign trail in the middle of the global pandemic, which has now claimed over 120,000 American lives.