It appears as though a speaking tour helmed by former President Donald Trump and ex-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is struggling to attract crowds large enough to fill the seats. As summarized by Newsweek, the tour “kicked off at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, with many empty seats, according to local media.” As that local outlet — the South Florida Sun Sentinel — explained things over the weekend, “Many seats remained empty in the cavernous arena. The top level was closed and ticket buyers were “upgraded” to the lower bowl.”
339 days ago terrorists ransacked the US Capitol and *hours later* 138-of-202 (68%) House republicans voted to make trump a dictator. They tried to finish the rioters’ job and end democracy. Never forget it.
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) December 12, 2021
Predictably, Trump used Saturday’s event to complain about all sorts of things, saying (among other remarks), “Our country in my opinion is no longer respected… Every country in the world takes advantage of the United States… It’s a horrible thing to say but I don’t feel America, right now, is great.” Troublingly, O’Reilly apparently used his part of the proceedings to (besides other things) “joke” about using a machine gun against the media. After Trump suggested the implementation of stricter libel laws to cut down on what he feels to be unfair news coverage, O’Reilly said that Trump’s proposal was “better than my solution, which is a machine gun.”
Given how much evidence is already publicly available, I'm not even sure that Trump coming out and being like "Yeah, I secretly plotted to end American democracy and I'm trying to do it again" would fundamentally shift the political dynamics in America. That's how bad it is.
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) December 11, 2021
As the Capitol riot and other incidents of disturbing violence have proven, there are people among Trump’s supporters who would take comments like this seriously — and apparently, some of those aligned with such a stance were present at the empty seat-riddled event. According to the Sun Sentinel, members of the violent, far-right group known as the Proud Boys were there. Numerous people with ties to that group have been hit with federal criminal charges in connection to their roles in the Capitol violence. Separately, a self-proclaimed member of the group was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of a slew of assault and weapons charges. That individual, Alan Swinney, perpetrated that violence amid anti-police brutality protests in Portland, where he shot a man in the face with a paintball gun, pointed a loaded handgun at demonstrators whose presence he opposed, and more.
Ex-Trump aide Peter Navarro has refused to comply with a subpoena from the COVID select subcommittee — saying Trump ordered him not to.
Chair James Clyburn says he's rejecting Navarro's arguments: "[Y]our letter presents no valid basis for refusing to comply with the subpoena."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 12, 2021