Kpop fans, TikTok teens claim they sabotaged Trump’s rally in Oklahoma

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 22, 2020

TikTok users and Korean pop fans took credit for raising expectations about the number of attendees at US President Donald Trump’s recent political rally, which eventually drew a relatively low number, a Reuters report said.

The rally, held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, was the first rally organised in a several months due to the global pandemic.

TikTok users and Kpop fans said they completed the online registration required to attend the rally, with no intention of attending in the first place.

Prior to the event, Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said there had been more than one million requests to attend. However, the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena had many empty seats on Saturday evening and Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence cancelled speeches to an expected “overflow” area outside.

The Tulsa Fire Department tallied the crowd at about 6,200 people.

Trump’s campaign advisers had looked forward to garnering support for Trump, who is trailing his Democratic rival, former vice-president Joe Biden in the opinion polls.

Oklahoma has registered a spike in the number of coronavirus cases. The state authorities had warned people that they would run the risk of catching the virus if they attended the rally.

The Trump campaign said entry was on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis and no one was issued an actual ticket.

“Leftists always fool themselves into thinking they’re being clever. Registering for a rally only means you’ve RSVPed with a cellphone number,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “But we thank them for their contact information.”

Parscale defended the authenticity of the process in a statement and said that the campaign obliterates bogus phone numbers and did this with “tens of thousands” at the Tulsa event in calculating possible attendance.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, took a jibe at Trump’s rally and posted on Twitter: “Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID.”

“KPop allies, we see and appreciate your contributions in the fight for justice too,” she added.

CNN had reported Tuesday that a TikTok video posted by Mary Jo Laupp, who uses the hashtag #TikTokGrandma, was helping lead the charge. The video now has more than 700,000 likes.

On Saturday, around 30 Black Lives demonstrators gathered outside the arena where the rally was supposed to happen and raised slogans. This eventually led to a brawl between Trump’s supporters and the demonstrators.

A Reuters reporter said police temporarily closed the access gates after protesters arrived at the rally perimeter, but state troopers helped clear the area and the gates were reopened some three hours before the rally began.

Published on June 22, 2020

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