President Donald Trump’s rally Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was barely over before the bragging began.
Liberal social media users were taking credit for widely reported, surprisingly low turnout for the event – and admitting they’d cheated.
As major news outlets from Reuters to The New York Times reported, youthful social media activists and the Democrats they support were celebrating the fact that a normally packed Trump rally couldn’t even fill a 20,000-seat municipal arena.
Prior to the rally, expectations had been much, much higher.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale blamed the unusually low attendance on “radical protesters” who aimed to disrupt the event itself.
Radical protestors, fueled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally.
They even blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering.
Thanks to the 1,000s who made it anyway!https://t.co/eM2nohMEy6
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 20, 2020
However, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the credit should go to social media saboteurs, who launched an effort to deliberately deceive the Trump campaign – and the rest of America – about what size turnout was to be expected.
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. ☺️ https://t.co/jGrp5bSZ9T
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
In a story posted Sunday morning, The New York Times reported users of the Chinese owned video-sharing platform TikTok and anti-Trump fans of Korean popular music had started the effort about 10 days ago.
“TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After the Trump campaign’s official account @TeamTrump posted a tweet asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.
“The trend quickly spread on TikTok, where videos with millions of views instructed viewers to do the same, as CNN reported on Tuesday. ‘Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go,’ one woman joked, along with a fake cough, in a TikTok posted on June 15.”
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh discounted the effort, according to Reuters.
“Leftists always fool themselves into thinking they’re being clever. Registering for a rally only means you’ve RSVPed with a cellphone number,” he said in a statement. “But we thank them for their contact information.”
There are other possible reasons for the turnout problem, of course.
The country is still in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic. Despite the fact that states are gradually opening, the prospect of being in an enclosed space with thousands of cheering strangers might have been off-putting to many who might otherwise be in the audience.
Regardless, conservatives were not amused by the liberals’ claims.
Byron York, a conservative commentator, Fox News contributor and chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, posted a Twitter thread that could well be a warning for what’s coming in the rest of the election season.
Resistance, NeverTrumpers boasting on social media that they block-reserved tickets to Trump rally to keep seats empty. One says his 16 year-old daughter and friends got ‘hundreds of tickets.’ 2/4
— Byron York (@ByronYork) June 21, 2020
Obviously, Trump will have to expect, work around, this sort of mischief throughout campaign. And after Saturday night, Biden will, too. 4/4 End.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) June 21, 2020
“Obviously, Trump will have to expect, work around, this sort of mischief throughout campaign,” York wrote.
“And after Saturday night, Biden will, too.”
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