Donald Trump’s campaign manager appeared to hint at removing credentials from journalists who “celebrate” the low attendance at a rally on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which saw just a fraction of the number of supporters the campaign had expected.
Brad Parscale has come under fire for repeatedly bragging during the week about the hundreds of thousands of people who registered to attend the event, which was the first campaign rally since early March when coronavirus lockdowns were first put in place. Parscale, at one point, claimed that 1 million people had requested tickets, raising expectations for a large event and an overflow crowd outside the 19,200-seat arena where President Trump was speaking.
When the Tulsa fire marshal said just 6,200 people were in attendance at the rally, Parscale claimed that protesters had blocked an entrance to the arena, preventing supporters from coming inside. That claim was disputed by a number of reporters on the ground who said they saw no such thing take place. Others noted that protests briefly blocked one entrance, but it was quickly cleared and video footage showed that supporters were able to come through unimpeded.
As The Guardian noted, Parscale then took aim at reporters, appearing to accuse them of stoking fear among Trump supporters and threatening to withhold credentials to campaign events.
“For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical,” he said.
“And it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals.”
The Inquisitr reported that some of the low attendance could have been the work of online trolls, who launched a campaign to sign up for tickets that they never intended to use. That inflated the expected numbers of the rally and could have dissuaded some supporters from coming to what the campaign was promoting as a large and likely crowded event.
But Rick Wilson, a former Republican consultant and co-founder of the group Lincoln Project, made up of prominent Republicans opposed to Trump, said the blame falls squarely on Parscale for overselling the event. Wilson hinted that Parscale’s job could now be in jeopardy.
“Brad broke the first rule of American politics: under promise and over deliver,” he told The Guardian in an email.
“Brad’s survival now depends on the good offices of his patrons inside the Trump camp, and [Ivanka and Jared Kushner] are already signaling their displeasure to the media.”