By Eamonn Burke
Despite the continually grim forecasts of COVID-19, which is spiking in almost half of the states in the country right now, and the many warnings of experts, President Trump carried through with his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma yesterday.
The rally, originally scheduled for Juneteenth but pushed ahead so as to not disrespect the holiday, was one of the first large gatherings planned since the coronavirus outbreak began. The participants were not required to wear a mask or social distance, but they were required to sign a liability form agreeing not to sue the President’s campaign if they did contract the virus.
The rally turned out to be a failure, and Trump was not happy. It was claimed that almost one million people had bought tickets, and yet just under 6,200 people actually showed. This ruined Trump’s image of sold out arenas and hoards of crowds, and Trump responded by allegedly lashing out at aides, giving a poor speech, and of course, taking to Twitter trying to change the subject. Trump also attempted to blame protestors outside of the rally who wouldn’t let audience members in.
Reason for a mild turnout is largely believed to be the very real fears of the coronavirus, which Trump has been downplaying and even, in the case of this rally, acting against. However, there is also a more exciting story behind the empty seats: the viral social media platform Tik-Tok became the base for an organized effort to upend the rally, by spreading the message to purchase tickets without going to the event. Fans of Korean Pop, or K-Pop, also joined together under this effort. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale dismissed the teens as “Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap’” but it cannot be denied that this had an effect on the outcome of the rally.
Trump plans to hold another rally soon, but it is yet to be known whether or not he will comply with the safety measures necessary or just ignore them again.