Trump says a million people have requested tickets to his Tulsa rally, but it could just be because TikTok users are trolling him

horecchio@businessinsider.com (Haven Orecchio-Egresitz)
·3 min read
Trump rally
President Donald Trump at a rally on November 4, 2018, in Macon, Georgia.

AP Photo/John Bazemore

  • TikTok users are making videos encouraging people to book free tickets to President Donald Trump's rally this weekend and not show up.

  • The free tickets allow people access to the president's Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on Saturday.

  • Trump has publicly said 1 million people have requested tickets, but it's unclear how many of those people are trolls.

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President Donald Trump has proudly said 1 million people have already requested tickets to his rally set to take place Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many of those people, though, might be trolls.

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TikTok users have been making videos encouraging people to register for tickets to his rally and then not show up. The effort is designed to create empty seats at the venue.

"All of those of us that want to see this 19,000-seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now and leave him standing alone there on the stage," Mary Jo Laupp said in a video she posted last week.

Laupp, who previously worked on Pete Buttigieg's campaign in Iowa, told CNN she made the appeal after learning that rally was to be held on Juneteenth, a June 19 holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the US. The decision to hold the rally on that date in a city infamous for one of the worst incidents of racial violence in US history — riots targeting Black people in 1921 — prompted outrage, and Trump's campaign ultimately moved it to the following day.

Laupp's video has been liked 625,000 times.

Several other users have posted similar videos, including one that calls on K-pop fans, who are particularly active on social media, to get involved.

Appeals have popped up on Instagram and Twitter, too.

While the stunt might seem clever, it is likely to have a minimal or nonexistent effect on turnout since the Trump campaign has not put a limit on how many people can request tickets. While the registration page tells users they can request up to two tickets, access to the rally will still be first come, first served.

Those signing up for tickets are just turning over their cellphone number and feeding the campaign's data-collection efforts.

When registrations for the rally passed 800,000, Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, described it as the "biggest data haul and rally signup of all time by 10x."

"Leftists do this all the time. They think if they sign up for tickets, that will leave empty seats," Erin Perrine, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, told CNN. "Not the case at all. Always way more ticket requests than seats available at a rally. All they are doing is giving us access to their contact information."

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