A Trump spokesperson tried to spin the lower-than-expected turnout for Donald Trump’s re-election rally in Tulsa during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” and host Chris Wallace wasn’t having it.
In the days leading up to Trump’s first rally since the start of the pandemic, his campaign boasted that it had received nearly a million ticket requests. But the Tulsa fire marshal estimate that approximately 6,200 supporters actually showed up, less than a third of the maximum capacity of the 19,200-seat BOK Center where the event had been held. An outdoor stage had been set up for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to speak to overflow crowds, but those speeches were canceled.
Wallace brought campaign spokesperson Mercedes Schlapp on the show to ask what had happened. Schlapp said that protesters had prevented many of Trump’s supporters from entering the arena, a talking point echoed by campaign manager Brad Pascale on Twitter yesterday. But Wallace refuted the argument.
“[Trump] talks about how he can fill an arena, and he didn’t fill an arena last night. You guys were so far off that you had planned an outdoor rally and there wasn’t an overflow crowd. Protesters did not stop people from coming to that rally. The fact is, people did not show up.”
Schlapp tried to divert the interview to criticisms of Joe Biden, who has been holding socially distanced campaign meetings and online speeches since the start of the pandemic.
“Joe Biden has been a failed politician that has done nothing but support failed institutions,” Schlapp said. “This is in contrast with President Trump who has a strong record and is rebuilding this economy.”
Wallace replied by saying that Schlapp was “shifting to a campaign speech” to avoid answering the question.
“Mercedes, please don’t filibuster,” Wallace interrupted. “Frankly, it makes you guys look silly when you deny the reality of what happened.”
Wallace has regularly challenged Trump officials and surrogates on Fox News. Last month, he criticized White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for telling reporters what questions they should be asking during a press briefing. He also denounced Trump’s attacks on the media, calling it a “direct sustained assault on the freedom of the press.”
Watch Wallace’s interview with Schlapp in the clip above.