The rally ignited criticism before it even began; in addition to holding a mass gathering during a pandemic, Trump chose to host the rally the weekend of Juneteenth — and in Tulsa, no less, shortly after the June 1st anniversary of that city’s 1921 race massacre — thereby willfully ignoring the ongoing nationwide protests demanding accountability for racism in the United States.
However, as Trevor Noah pointed out on The Daily Show, the rally’s crowd wasn’t as robust as Trump made it out to be. Although the president expected to fill the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Center, just 6,200 attendees turned up to the event.
“Aw, poor Trump,” Noah said, faking sympathy. “For someone who was born into wealth and never suffered a single consequence for his actions, this dude just cannot catch a break.”
The Trump campaign claimed turnout was so underwhelming because protesters “blocked” the entrance to the arena, but Noah suspected that it was more likely that COVID-19 kept all but the most die-hard Trump supporters away. He also pointed to a report that online K-pop fans and TikTok users trolled the campaign by inflating their attendance numbers in advance, RSVPing for the rally en masse with no intention of going.
On Late Night, Seth Meyers criticized Trump calling the coronavirus as the “kung-flu.” “Man, just when you thought he couldn’t get any worse…why did you think that?” Meyers quipped.
He also took a swing at Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale, who denied that anti-Trump social media users were responsible for low turnout: “So you’re saying the truth is, Trump just isn’t as popular as you thought? Good save, Brad! Classic Brad save!”
Stephen Colbert remarked on the “overflow stage” outside the arena, which was set up so that both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence could address an estimated overflow crowd of 40,000 people. In reality, just 25 supporters showed up outside, and the stage was removed.
“That’s not a presidential rally — that’s the private party room at the Olive Garden,” Colbert said. “Twenty-five people! Doesn’t say great things when there are fewer people in your crowd than have credibly accused you of sexual assault.”