Democratic lawmakers, celebrities and others mocked President Donald Trump after attendance appeared to be lower than expected at his Saturday campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla.
Reporters at the rally shared photos and video of the crowd at the BOK Center in Tulsa before Vice President Pence addressed supporters ahead of the president’s speech.
Inside the arena, there were empty spots on the floor and in the upper levels, TheHills reports.
The Trump campaign, in a statement, blamed the attendance on the media and protesters in the area surrounding the arena.
“President Trump is rallying in Tulsa with thousands of energetic supporters, a stark contrast to the sleepy campaign being run by Joe Biden from his basement in Delaware,” communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
“Sadly, protestors interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally,” he added.
The Trump campaign said that it had received more than 1 million ticket requests ahead of the rally. It also cancelled planned addresses from the president and Pence at a separate stage outside the arena ahead of the rally.
Many were quick to take to social media to jab the president over the event’s attendance following images and video captured on the ground.
Rep Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted ahead of the event, “Why so many empty seats at the #TrumpsCoronavirusRally? A. Seeing @POTUS is not worth dying B. @realDonaldTrump’s base shrank so much they can’t even fill an arena in a red state C. Campaign lied about how many people got tickets D. Knives Out is now available on Amazon Prime.”
Lieu also mocked the president’s campaign after it cancelled plans for Trump and Pence to address supporters in an overflow space outside the arena.
“I believe the correct word would be ‘underflow.’ The small number of people at the #TrumpTulsaRally has now become a big embarrassment for @realDonaldTrump,” he wrote.
The decision to hold the Tulsa rally has been viewed by some as controversial amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus cases have spiked in Oklahoma in recent days, and the Trump campaign confirmed Saturday that six staffers who travelled to Tulsa ahead of the rally had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Tulsa’s health director last week voiced concerns about the rally, saying that the indoor event produces a “huge risk” and that he wished “we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”