Did teens, TikTok users and Korean pop music fans troll the president of the United States?
For more than a week before Donald Trump’s first campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday night, some tech-savvy groups opposing the president mobilized to reserve tickets for the rally they had no intention of attending.
While it’s not likely that they were responsible for the low turnout, their antics may have inflated the campaign’s expectations for attendance numbers that lead to Saturday’s disappointing show.
“My 16 year old daughter and her friends in Park City Utah have hundreds of tickets. You have been rolled by America’s teens,” tweeted veteran Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt on Saturday. The tweet garnered more than 100,000 likes and many responses from others whose kids or who themselves said they did the same.
Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said the turnout was a sign of weakening voter support. “Donald Trump has abdicated leadership and it is no surprise that his supporters have responded by abandoning him,” he said.
In a statement, the Trump campaign blamed “fake news media” for “warning people away from the rally” due to COVID-19 and protests against racial injustice around the country.
Inside the 19,000-seat BOK Center in Tulsa Saturday, when Trump thundered that “the silent majority is stronger than ever before,” numerous seats were empty. Tulsa Fire Department spokesperson Andy Little said the city fire marshal’s office reported a crowd of just less than 6,200 in the arena.
City officials had expected a crowd of 100,000 people or more in downtown Tulsa but that never materialized. That said the rally, which was broadcast on cable, also targeted voters in battleground states such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.