Donald Trump: Re-election campaign denies low turnout manipulation claim
President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign dismissed claims that a social media campaign by Tik-Tok users and K-Pop fans was behind a lower than expected turnout for Saturday night’s Oklahoma rally .
Teens are said to have booked tickets without intending to show up to produce empty seats.
But the Trump 2020 team said they had eliminated bogus reservations.
Trump had said he expected a million to come.
The Bank of Oklahoma Center headquarters in Tulsa can accommodate 19,000 people. The event also had to extend outward, although that part of it had been canceled.
Tulsa firefighters say they have attended over 6,000 people, but the 2020 campaign suggested that the figure was much higher.
The team’s campaign director said in a statement that “requests for fake tickets never affect the way we think” as entry to rallies is on a “first come, first served” basis. Brad Parscale accused the media and protesters of deterring families from participation.
“The left and online trolls take a win, thinking that they have somehow influenced participation in the rallies, they don’t know what they are talking about or how our rallies work,” said Parscale.
“Registering for a rally means that you have responded [confirmed attendance] with a mobile number and we constantly eliminate bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible pool of participants. “
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Steve Schmidt, former Republican strategist and Mr. Trump critic, said teenagers in the United States ordered tickets without wanting to show up. Her 16-year-old daughter and friends had requested “hundreds” of tickets.
Numerous parents responded to Schmidt’s post stating that their children had done the same.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent progressive figure, praised the young people and fans of K-pop who claimed to have “flooded Trump’s campaign with fake ticket reservations”.
It’s unclear how many of the hundreds of thousands of ticket bookings touted by the Trump campaign were fake, but a June 12 TikTok video encouraged people to sign up for free tickets to make sure there were empty seats in the arena that received more than I like 700,000.
The video was released after the announcement of the original rally date for June 19th.
The news had sparked an angry reaction because it had fallen in June, the celebration of the end of American slavery. The location of the event, Tulsa, was also controversial, as it was the site of one of the worst racial massacres in U.S. history.
After news of smaller crowd numbers surfaced, account owner Mary Jo Laupp praised the response, telling young people that they were too young to vote, “Remember that by doing one thing and sharing the information, you had an impact. “
If true, it wouldn’t be the first time that social media users have shown their political impact in the past few weeks.
Fans of K-pop, South Korea’s famous music industry, have been active in canceling the hashtags used by opponents of Black Lives Matter (BLM) in recent weeks and raised money after the death of African American George Floyd on last month.
Anthony Zurcher of the BBC, who was in Tulsa, says that the rally organizers approve more and more tickets than there is space, so the pranksters who make reservations would not have prevented legitimate supporters from attending.
However, it appears that they convinced Trump’s campaign that more people were interested in going than they actually were.
The campaign boasted about a million RSVPs but if even half of those reservations had been legitimate, the demonstration would have seen much greater participation, he adds.
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Fears of coronavirus
There have been health concerns in holding the rally, the first of its kind since blockade measures began in many U.S. states.
Participants in the rally had to sign a waiver to protect Trump’s campaign from liability for any disease. Hours before the event started, officials said six staff members involved in organizing the event proved positive.
The pandemic was one of the issues touched by Trump in his wide-ranging, almost two-hour speech, to encourage supporters of Oklahoma, a republican heart.
There had been fierce opposition, including a legal challenge rejected by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, against holding the demonstration during the health pandemic.
Some feared that the event could become a “super-spreading” coronavirus event.
More than 2.2 million Covid-19 cases and 119,000 associated deaths have been reported in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
What did Trump say?
In his initial remarks, Trump claimed that there were “very bad people outside, they were doing bad things”, but he didn’t elaborate. Black Lives Matter activists were among the counter-demonstrators who gathered outside the venue before the event.
On the coronavirus response, Trump said he encouraged officials to slow down the tests because it led to more cases being discovered. He described the tests as a “double edged sword”.
“Here’s the downside: when you test up to that point, you will find more people, you will find more cases,” he said to the cheering crowd. “So I said ‘slow down the tests’. They test and test.”
The coronavirus, Trump said, had many names, including “Kung Flu”, a xenophobic term that appears to be a reference to China, from which Covid-19 originates.
Nearly 120,000 people have died with Covid-19 in the United States since the start of the pandemic, a number that according to health experts could have been much higher if the tests had not been accelerated. The tests, health officials say, are important for understanding where and to what extent coronavirus is spreading and therefore preventing further deaths.
A White House official later stated that the president was “obviously joking” about the Covid-19 tests.
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Aiming for his presidential democratic rival, Trump described Joe Biden as “a defenseless puppet of the radical left.”
The president also had a combative tone when he touched on anti-racism protests – and the overthrow of statues – which began after the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by police in Minneapolis.
“The crazy leftist crowd is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments – our beautiful monuments – demolish our statues and punish, erase and persecute anyone who does not comply with their demands for absolute and total control. We are not in conformity “he said to the crowd.