Romney acknowledged the setting while speaking; campaign officials said that the site that had been originally planned for the address — a Detroit hotel — was not big enough to accommodate the number of supporters.

“I want to thank the folks at the Ford Field for making this space available for us,” Romney said. “I guess we had a hard time finding a large enough place to meet and this certainly is.”

Commentators on both sides of the aisle mocked the event's optics, with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham questioning the choice.

The daughters of former presidential candidate — and Romney endorser — Jon Hunstman likewise mocked Romney over the setting, comparing the turnout to that of the NBA's Washington Wizards, one of the sport's worst-performing teams.

Journalists attending the speech also noted the optics, with the Washington Examiner's Byron York tweeting a picture of the event and calling the stadium "deserted."