Trump Media Tour Kicks Off With A Dud After Failing To Fill Venue

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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 Sentinelexplained 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.”

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.”

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.