Despite Trump’s claims that over 1 million people had requested tickets for his June 20th rally amid a pandemic, the president’s speech at the BOK Arena was attended by well-below the venue’s 19,000-person capacity; the Tulsa Fire Department put the attendance at 6,200, while the Trump campaign claimed 12,000 people walked through the metal detectors, CNN reported.
As the New York Times reported, the low attendance came amidst a viral campaign allegedly orchestrated by TikTok users and K-pop fans to flood the Trump campaign with ticket requests for the Tulsa rally and then no-show the event, resulting in a significantly under-filled arena. However, on Sunday, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale denied those reports.
“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Parscale said in a statement. “Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-Pop fans – without contacting the campaign for comment – behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade.”
Parscale continued, “Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool. These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”
The campaign manager instead blamed “a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally.” Trump communication director Tim Murtaugh similarly tweeted, “Real factor was media-stoked fear.”
In response to Parscale’s claims, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID. Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud.” Recently, K-pop fans also banded together to take over the #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag.
Run the Jewels’ El-P also offered some advice to the Trump campaign following the low turnout:
hey look the road can be tough. only advice i have for new bands like the trump campaign is: play the smaller venues you can pack and keep overhead low. if you can get a guy who does front of house AND drives the van that’s a good move until the crowds/fees get bigger.
— el-p (@therealelp) June 20, 2020