President Donald Trump’s return to the campaign trail proved to be underwhelming with a much lower than expected turnout.
While tens of thousands of Republican supporters were touted to gather for Trump’s high-profile rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday defying concerns of coronavirus infection, the Tulsa Fire Department told the media that the number of attendees was just under 6,200.
Trump’s campaign claimed that 12,000 people “made it past protesters” and attended the rally at the Bank of Oklahoma Center.
The Trump 2020 campaign manager put the blame for the disappointing turnout on the media’s negative campaign.
“The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protesters, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally,” Brad Parscale said in a statement.
Trump said at the rally that he had told his staff to slow down diagnostic testing for coronavirus, as it had led to the U.S. having the world’s highest number of cases.
“When you do testing… you are going to find more people, you will find more cases. So I said to my people: ‘Slow the testing down,” he told his supporters.
The White House later said the President was joking.
Trump on Monday tried to clarify his statement on Twitter, tweeting, “Our Coronavirus testing is so much greater (25 million tests) and so much more advanced, that it makes us look like we have more cases, especially proportionally, than other countries”.
Trump held his first major election rally since the COVID-forced lockdown while facing a set back in popularity in battleground states.
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