Donald Trump was reportedly “furious” after his campaign manager promised nearly a million people would show up to the president's first major rally since the coronavirus outbreak, to then see just 6,200 people in attendance at the Saturday event.
The president was upset before the rally even began, according to NBC News, as reports circulated early on Saturday that said six of his campaign staffers who were organising the event tested positive for Covid-19.
Mr Trump did not understand how that information had leaked to the press just before he was set to take the stage at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a venue with more than 19,000 seats, the news outlet reported.
He wasn’t the only one frustrated by the debacle: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were “pissed” about the poor turnout at the rally after Brad Parscale, the president’s re-election campaign manager, predicted a stronger turnout, according to CNN.
Just 6,200 people watched the president deliver his 90-minute speech, the Tulsa fire department said, in which he attacked his presumptive opponent in the upcoming election, former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as the mainstream media and “radical left” lawmakers. Mr Trump also hailed himself for his administration’s response to the novel coronavirus, saying at one point: “I have done a phenomenal job with it. I saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”
The president’s campaign claimed 12,000 people had attended the event, and also alleged without evidence that protestors had blocked entryways for audience members leading up to the rally.
“Radical protestors, fuelled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally,” Mr Parscale claimed in a tweet. “They even blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering.”
However, reporters from the Associated Press who had been covering the event did not witness any such incident taking place on Saturday.
Prior to the rally, Mr Trump’s campaign set up an overflow area and promised the president would speak to thousands of voters outside the event.
But when he arrived in Tulsa, the president found a much more “underwhelming” scenario, NBC News reported, offsetting his hopes for a major return to the presidential campaign trail.
Reports indicated much of the hype about the president’s rally stemmed from teenagers reserving tickets online as part of a viral prank against his campaign. Teens posted videos of themselves to social media dancing to the “Macarena” with their reservations to the rally on display.
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