The President's reelection campaign had high hopes for this weekend. It boasted that a million people requested tickets to Trump's rally on Saturday night, and even made plans to accommodate an overflow crowd of 40,000 outside the arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But his big return to the campaign trail turned into an embarrassment
-- only 6,200 people
(about one-third the venue's capacity) showed up, said the local fire department.
Trump's aides tried to cover his blushes by blaming protesters for scaring supporters away
. But rows of empty seats and a deserted area in front of the planned overflow stage told their own story. Could it have been fear of the coronavirus? Waning enthusiasm for the President himself? Whatever the reason, Trump built his own boobytrap
by boasting about the expected crowds, in hopes of portraying wild heartland support despite his gruesome run of crises and controversies.
Critics spent Sunday gloating about his humiliation, but it's too early to conclude that Trump has lost his magic -- crowd sizes are an unscientific way to judge the state of a campaign. There was also little to learn from the rally itself, which contained Trump's usual mix of grievances, lies, bizarre diversions and casual racism. The biggest cheer came when he showed he could drink water from a glass using one hand -- a feat of no small significance after previous two-fisted attempts to hydrate raised questions about his health.
Trump is reportedly furious
about the turnout. As always happens when something goes wrong, word has emerged that his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner aren't happy either. So with Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden badly in the polls, campaign manager Brad Parscale might want to watch his back.