After touting a huge turnout, President Trump’s Tulsa rally was comically under-attended — and TikTok is partly to thank.
Though the arena at which Trump spoke has a capacity of just over 19,000, the number of supporters in attendance ultimately clocked in at closer to 6,200. This was a far cry from Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale’s claim that nearly one million tickets had been requested for the president’s first rally since COVID swept through the nation.
In fact, the turnout was so underwhelming that a previously planned outdoor stage set up for an overflow crowd and additional speeches from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence was instead dismantled, and the extra speeches canceled entirely.
The Trump administration tried to blame low numbers on protestors, with Communications Director Tim Murtaugh claiming that “radical protestors, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media, attempted to frighten off the President’s supporters,” supposedly by “blocking off access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally.”
According to multiple media reports, no protestors stopped people from getting into the rally.
The underwhelming turnout quickly turned into a complete joke online.
Trump’s rally had been controversial from the start. His approval rating is staying steadily under 50% these days, he sparked outrage by originally planning the Tulsa rally for Juneteenth amidst Black Lives Matter protests, and there’s still that bit where we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic with infections rising throughout the country.
So it’s no surprise that the undeniable fact that Trump’s ego-booster failed to draw enough people to even pretend to pack a stadium was mocked online by his critics.
And Parscale wasn’t let off the hook either.
Gen Z is partly responsible for the inflated numbers that made Parscale and Trump believe that people were actually going to show up for this thing.
A coordinated effort on TikTok, in which zoomers and K-pop fans reserved free tickets for the event with fake information despite having no intention of going, likely had a hand in Parscale’s announcement that nearly a million “Trump supporters” requested tickets for the rally.
Folks who didn’t know this was happening were shook at the reveal.
Of course, at the end of the day, zoomers may have inflated the anticipated numbers, but there was no cap on the number of ticket reservations that were accepted prior to the event. The attendance at Trump’s rally was underwhelming because people, quite simply, did not want to attend.