Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter Saturday night to gloat over the apparent low turnout at Trump's much touted Tulsa campaign rally earlier in the day.
She boasted that teens across the nation and around the world had scammed the event by registering for spots, snagging up mass tickets online in order to prevent others from attending, leaving most of the arena barren and empty.
According to a Forbes report on Sunday, while the BOK Center's total capacity is near 20,000 - about 6,200 people showed up, bused on Tulsa Fire Department numbers.
The New York Times also reported on the organized attempt to scam the Trump campaign by ensuring a low turnout, saying "hundreds of teenage TikTok users and K-pop fans say they’re at least partially responsible."
However, the media reports appear driven purely by anecdotal evidence like Twitter testimonials among teens and parents claiming success in the scheme.
For example, AOC's "shout out to Zoomers" for what she called the "fake ticket reservations" appears based not on direct knowledge of it actually taking place, but merely on media reports.
Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud. ☺️ https://t.co/jGrp5bSZ9T
The New York Times reports Sunday:
TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After the Trump campaign’s official account @TeamTrump posted a tweet asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.
One Trump 2020 Campaign spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, did acknowledge some degree of protester interference.
His criticism appeared aimed at protesters at the event who "blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering."
i have three teenagers. two of them have a pair of tix each to @realDonaldTrump’s rally in tulsa; they registered to spoof POTUS & his campaign. one of them is sitting at dinner now, laughing and saying teens around the united states fooled the man. https://t.co/akLU9o8u3f— C.J. Chivers (@cjchivers) June 21, 2020
The "buying up tickets" scheme has been widely reported, but still remains largely unverified outside of things like TikTok videos instructing people to participate in the "trick".
Meanwhile, a Trump campaign spokesperson was on the defensive on the Sunday morning shows, ultimately blaming tensions surrounding anti-Trump protesters at the event blocking entry, while also saying the televised and digital media reach was at over five million viewers.
"You guys were so far off that you had planned an outdoor rally, and there wasn't an overflow crowd ... the fact is, people didn't show up" -- Chris Wallace grills Trump campaign spokesperson Mercedes Schlapp on Trump's underwhelming Tulsa crowd pic.twitter.com/1wdWK7Cpta— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 21, 2020
But then the low turnout could could also be explained by the resurgence of growing COVID-19 case numbers in Oklahoma and other states ahead of the Trump campaign's first major indoor event.
Just hours before the Tulsa rally, six staffers working on the rally tested positive for the coronavirus. No doubt this likely gave many ticket-holders last minute second thoughts.