Why did Donald Trump hold a rally near the center of the country and certainly in one of America’s coronavirus hotspots? Before the president went into the Bank of Oklahoma auditorium in Tulsa, OK, the campaign’s people were tearing down the outside overflow stage. It seems, POTUS held a party and no one came.
At least only 6,200 appeared beneath the wrap of blue seats. If the president was in a bad mood before, imagine how bad the Air Force One ride back to Washington, D.C. was.
The president expected people to risk their lives to help him show that COVID-19 was disappearing. Trump’s people were expecting anywhere between 100,000 and one million attendees, but they had to be far more than disappointed. After all, this event was supposed to kick off the president’s 2020 campaign. Tickets had been flying off of the computer.
Campaign Chair for Trump, Brad Parscale, tweeted on Monday, according to The New York Times:
‘[T]hat the campaign had fielded more than one million ticket requests, but reporters at the event noted the attendance was lower than expected. The campaign also canceled planned events outside the rally for an anticipated overflow crowd that did not materialize.’
Health officials warned people against attending this closed-in environment, including the president’s coronavirus experts. They also suggested Americans watch for cases to spike sharply in 10 days to two weeks.
The United States already had 2.3 million reported cases of the coronavirus and an ever-increasing 122,000 fatalities.
The campaign staff thought that they would fill up the BOK to the rafters with 19,200 maskless supporters and reach an even larger overflow audience outside.
Instead, the staff watched with growing dismay as the crowd trickled in the doors, barely filling a third of the blue seats, that appeared to be silently mocking the man who occasionally sits in the Oval Office.
The reporters tweeted photos panoraming this sparse crowd at the auditorium and showing bands of blue empty seats. Communications Director Tim Murtaugh tried to come up with an excuse and ended up blaming the media and the protesters.
Protesters had gathered to celebrate Juneteenth in honor of the end of slavery. They also had been commemorating the massacre of three-hundred members of a wealthy Black town filled with doctors, attorneys, and other professionals. The town was nicknamed the Black Wall Street.
Information Officer for the Tulsa Fire Department Andrew Little, told The Forbes magazine that it had counted the crowd and came up with a little under 6,200 people.
A new Fox News Poll showed that 59 percent of American believed:
‘[C]rowded campaign events are a bad idea, given the risks posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The poll also found that Republicans sharply diverge with Trump on the issue of mask wearing, with 70% saying they have a favorable view of them despite Trump consistently eschewing masks at public appearances.’
So what happened that made the numbers go so awry? Apparently, a grandmother suggested on the social media app TikTok that young people reserve seats for Trump’s rally and then, be no-shows. Other TikTok members jumped onto this idea, Forbes reported:
‘They recruited ‘K-pop stans,’ fans of Korean pop music, a massive and active community on social media, to do the same. While it is unlikely this effort denied people any seats, as the rally was first come first serve, it may have accounted for a substantial chunk of the ticket registrations.’
TikTok teens and K-Pop stars took at least partial credit for the social media bombing of Trump’s campaign kick-off. So how did it work? YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 26, explained:
‘It spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism. K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.’
He said “These kids are smart:”
‘The majority of people who made them deleted them after the first day because we didn’t want the Trump campaign to catch wind. These kids are smart and they thought of everything.’
A woman from Fort Dodge, IA Mary Jo Laupp, 51, prepared a video that went viral with over 700,000 likes and over two million views:
‘I recommend all of those of us that want to see this 19,000-seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now, and leave him standing there alone on the stage.’
‘There are teenagers in this country who participated in this little no-show protest, who believe that they can have an impact in their country in the political system even though they’re not old enough to vote right now.’
An 18-year-old from upstate New York, Erin Hoffman, heard about the campaign to undermine the president from a friend. Twitter and TikTok spread the information:
‘Trump has been actively trying to disenfranchise millions of Americans in so many ways, and to me, this was the protest I was able to perform. He doesn’t deserve the platform he has been given.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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