US Election: Brad Parscale Faces Trump ‘Fury’ Over Tulsa Rally Flops

  • Campaign chief said millions would attend: but only a few thousand did
Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House after returning from the Tulsa rally. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, came under intense pressure on Sunday after claiming hundreds of thousands of people had applied for tickets to the president’s return to the campaign trail in Tulsa, only for the rally to attract a sparse crowd.

The Campaign chief was confident that millions would attend, but the opposite was the case as only a few thousand did on the night where K-pop fans and TikTok users seekt disrupted Tulsa rally

At the BOK Center in the Oklahoma city on Saturday night, as the President took the stage to give his first campaign speech since the COVID-19 pandemic put large parts of America under lockdown, vast banks of empty seats could be seen.

Giving conflicting figures of attendance at the event, the Tulsa Fire Department said 6,200 people attended. The Trump campaign claimed 12,000 were present in the arena that holds 19,000 capacity.

The campaign had built an “overflow” stage outside the BOK Center, to host brief remarks by Trump and Mike Pence. Those speeches were however cancelled due the poor attendance at the event.

Trump’s demeanour on returning to Washington was widely scrutinised. The President was initially quiet on Twitter on Sunday with reports claiming he was “furious” at the “underwhelming” event, which followed a week of controversy about whether it should even be held.

According to NBC, Trump was “particularly angry that before he even left DC, aides made public that six members of team in Tulsa tested positive for Covid-19”.

CNN also reported that the President’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, were “pissed” that Parscale had promised huge crowds.

Also, President Trump had earlier claimed in one of his messages that more than a million people wanted to attend his rally.

In a statement, Parscale blamed the low attendance on “a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID-19 protesters”, which he said “coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally”.

He then appeared to threaten about rescinding accreditation for journalists critical of the Trump campaign.

“For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical,” he said, adding; “And it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals.”

Parscale has been widely credited for his work on the 2016 campaign but pressure has increased as the re-election campaign heats up, with reports of a president furious about polling results and pondering a reorganisation.

However, Rick Wilson, a bestselling author, former Republican consultant and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super pac, was critical of Parscale’s approach.

“Brad broke the first rule of American politics: under promise and over deliver,” he told the Guardian.

“Brad’s survival now depends on the good offices of his patrons inside the Trump camp, and [Ivanka and Kushner] are already signaling their displeasure to the media

“The only X factor is whether anyone else in Trump’s crew of skells [and] grifters … has offered to keep the scam running”, he said

It has been reported that the number of applicants for tickets to the Saturday’s rally was inflated by young users of the social media platform TikTok applying but then deliberately not attending.

“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,” Erin Hoffman, an 18-year-old New Yorker, told the New York Times.

The Trump campaign said protesters blocked entrances and metal detectors, preventing people from entering the rally. However, reporters on the ground including the Guardian’s Oliver Laughland said they saw no evidence of such tactics.

As COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma rise, public health officials had warned against holding a large indoor gathering.

The Trump campaign did not require attendees to wear masks. Some observers speculated fear of Covid-19 may have stopped some supporters from attending the rally. – The Guardian

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