Saturday night’s rally took place in Oklahoma and President Trump had said he expected around one million people to attend. Teenagers are said to have booked tickets without intending to turn up so as to produce empty seats. Trump’s 2020 campaign team said they had dealt with and got rid of any ‘bogus’ reservations.
The Bank of Oklahoma Center venue in Tulsa seats 19,000.
The event was also planned to extend outside, though that part of it was cancelled.
It is reported that Tulsa’s fire brigade believe more than 6,000 turned up, but Trump’s campaign dispute those figures and say the number was much higher.
Trump 2020’s campaign director said in a statement that: “phoney ticket requests never factor into our thinking” as entry to rallies is on a first-come-first-served basis. Brad Parscale blamed the media and protesters for dissuading families from attending.”
“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Mr Parscale said.
“Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed (confirmed attendance) with a cellphone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool.”
Steve Schmidt, a former Republican strategist and critic of Mr Trump has said the social media campaign consisted of teens in the US ordering tickets with the intention of not turning up.
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Nobody knows how many of the hundreds of thousands of ticket reservations touted by the Trump campaign were fake.
However, one TikTok video from 12 June encouraging people to sign up for free tickets to ensure there would be empty seats at the arena has received more than 700,000 likes.
The video was posted after the original rally date was announced for 19 June.
The news had sparked angry reaction because it fell on Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of US slavery.
The location of the event, Tulsa, was also controversial, as it was the site of one of the worst racial massacres in US history.
After news of the smaller crowd numbers emerged, the account’s owner Mary Jo Laupp praised the response, telling young people who were too young to vote: “Remember that you, in doing one thing and sharing information, had an impact.”
If this is the case then it shows how much of an impact social media users are having on the campaign already.
But it would also not be the first time they’ve managed to show a political impact.
K-Pop fans have been using hashtags and Black Lives Matter tags to try and raise money after George Floyd’s death.
Rally organisers always approve more tickets than there is space, so pranksters filling out reservations would not have stopped legitimate supporters from attending.
However, it appears they convinced the Trump campaign that more people were interested in going than actually were.