Trump campaign dismisses report that TikTok users, K-pop fans sabotaged rally attendance
President Trump’s reelection campaign dismissed a report that TikTok users and K-pop fans sabotaged attendance at Trump’s Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Okla., by registering for free tickets and not showing up.
“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said in a statement Sunday.
“Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-pop fans – without contacting the campaign for comment – behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade,” he added.
K-pop fan accounts and TikTok users started sharing information about a tweet from the Trump campaign asking supporters to register for free tickets, encouraging users to sign up for the rally and then not show, The New York Times reported Sunday.
YouTuber Elijah Daniel told the Times the trend spread mostly through “Alt TikTok.”
“We kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” Daniel, 26, who participated in the social media campaign, told the newspaper. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) even lauded “teens on TikTok” for the effort.
“Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud,” the congresswoman tweeted before thanking “KPop allies” in a subsequent post.
But Parscale claims the social media effort did not impact the crowd size.
“Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool,” he said. “These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”
Parscale instead blamed a “week’s worth of fake news media” about the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for impacting the crowd size.
“For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical. And it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals,” Parscale added.
The Tulsa rally was the first Trump held in months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tulsa Fire Department on Saturday estimated that fewer than 6,200 people attended. The arena’s full capacity is 19,000.
Parscale earlier this week said the campaign had passed 800,000 tickets, calling it the “biggest data haul and rally sign up of all time.”
Trump had also hyped attendance, tweeting that “almost One Million people” had requested tickets for the rally.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.