The Trump campaign rally in Tulsa has all the color and atmosphere of one of his traditional rallies.
Women were in cowboy hats of red , white and blue, cut-off jeans and fringed boots. The man in the red-brick “build the wall” suit showed up, as did frequent warm-up act Diamond and Silk. Mike Lindell, better known as the impresario “My Pillow,” worked for the crowd, hugging and posing for selfies.
The “Make America Great Again” hats, the “lock her up” chants of the Hillary Clinton, the ear-piercing soundtrack heavy on Rolling Stones, Elton John and Frank Sinatra-squint, and it felt like the kind of raucous celebration that powered Trump to the White House in 2016 and buoyed him through the ups and downs of his presidency.
The only thing that was lacking was the overflowing audience-the kind the president bragged that he still got two days ago-as huge swathes of blue top-deck seats appeared vacant even as Trump reached the room.
Blame the coronavirus, as cases increase in Tulsa and elsewhere, for stopping people from attending. Blame protesters for supposedly blocking access to the rally site-as the Trump campaign did. Blaming mischievous liberals for claiming to have flooded the Trump team with fake demands for tickets, also encouraging the campaign to prepare for massive crowds overflowing.
Whatever the explanation, it clearly did not materialize such huge crowds.
At an outdoor venue that remained largely unfilled, both Mike Pence and Donald Trump canceled speeches. It wasn’t a poor result, particularly considering the conditions, but when the campaign boasts more than one million RSVPs, it is an awkward look to hit far, far below that level.
Campaign manager Brad Parscale was one of those who talked the loudest. And considering that he was already known to be with the president on shaky ground. His continued tenure could be in significant danger. This rally was also going to be by aides to break the president out from a few weeks of gloominess. Instead, his mood may become more sour.