As stated in a previous post, when we learned that Donald Trump planned to hold his first post-Covid-19 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my wife declared that we had to go. She was, as usual, right. We had to be there.
It was bad enough that the impeached, popular vote-losing, historically unpopular President originally intended to gather his MAGA minions on July 19th— the holiday known as Juneteenth — the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas finally learned they’d been emancipated by Lincoln’s proclamation back in 1863.
But there was more.
Worse than Trump’s Juneteenth affront was the city that he chose for his 2020 campaign kick-start. Nearly a century earlier, a white mob in Tulsa destroyed a prosperous African American neighborhood known as Black Wall Street, murdering hundreds of innocent Black men while burning more than 35 square blocks of homes and businesses to the ground. Trump wasn’t sounding a racist dog whistle. He was blaring his racist message through a stack of 100 Marshall amplifiers turned up to 11.
The swift critical blowback against Trump’s outrageous, race-baiting bit of scheduling forced him to move his rally from the 19th to the 20th – but that was just the first taste of defeat for Mango Mussolini that fateful weekend. He envisioned his visit to Tulsa as a re-boot of the traveling Trumpian circus that had served his Presidential aspirations – and his ego – so well in 2016.
Trump and his various campaign hacks and flacks trumpeted the news that Tulsa’s 19,000 seat BOK Center was nowhere near large enough to hold the hundreds of thousands of fans who had pre-ordered tickets for the rally. So, the Trump campaign arranged an outdoor venue for the overflow horde of cult followers eager to bask in their master’s mendacious message.
But there was a problem with those ticket reservations. It starts with the fact that my wife and I had six tickets and our youngest daughter had two – and none of us had any intention of going to the rally.
It was our daughter who hipped us to the subversive plan days before we left for Tulsa. She’d learned through the youthful online grapevine that, inspired by a TikTok video, the kids were snatching up tickets for Trump’s Tulsa rally as a massive prank. The kids were out to punk Trump.
This fast-moving youth movement followed the lead of Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old grandmother from Fort Dodge, Iowa, who posted a TikTok video on June 11th suggesting that people book free tickets to the rally to inflate the attendance numbers and ensure there were empty seats. Laupp’s video earned more than 700,000 likes. Trump and his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, had no idea what was happening. They bought their own hype.
They swallowed the kids’ bait. Hook. Line. And sinker.
When my wife and I arrived in Tulsa on the 19th, we found a much sleepier downtown area than we imagined. My wife kept saying, “Where is everybody”?
By the day of Trump’s rally it was clear where everybody was: not in Tulsa!
Only 6,200 MAGAs showed up to bask in the first stop on President Man-Child’s Ego-Gratification Tour: just one-third of the BOK Center’s capacity.
What follows are images and commentary on Trump’s 2020 campaign Waterloo as we experienced it.
SPOILER ALERT: Those desperate excuses made by Trump loyalists about how the rally throngs were kept from getting into the BOK Center by protesters blocking their entrance? Pure lies, as you shall see…
Leaving our hotel on the morning of the rally, the streets were mostly deserted. But we did see this truck parked in a completely empty parking lot just a few blocks from the BOK Center. Why was this parking lot so empty if as many as one million Trump fans were coming to town?
This photo was taken just a few blocks from the BOK Center. Each block was sealed off with concrete barriers so that streets remained clear. This was one of three approaches to the BOK Center. We could see a couple hundred people waiting on this block.
Note the National Guard presence, the sparse crowd — and NO protestors. This was the pattern all day leading up to the rally.
The MAGA crowd is getting a little larger. But where are the protesters blocking the MAGAs from attending the rally? They don’t exist. Do you see any? Of course not. We are two blocks from the BOK Center at this point.
The Oklahoma National Guard is ready for action. Nervous kids doing their duty.
Another shot of the not-so- massive throngs gathering a couple blocks away from the BOK Center. Still no protesters. Actually, no protesters will show up until all the MAGAs are in the building and the rally is already underway. Oh yeah, there WAS that one older lady wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt who was handcuffed and hauled away from the entrance.
There were at least three layers of security in order to get inside the gates leading to the BOK Center: concrete barriers, three rows of National Guard, and a fence. You’ll note that you don’t see any protesters blocking this entrance. It was the same at all entrances.
One you get past the concrete barricades and three rows of National Guard, there’s a fence — and then a temperature-testing site. Notice all the violent protesters blocking these MAGAs from entering? Of course not. Because they weren’t there! Sorry, Trump campaign. No excuses. Also — nobody is wearing a mask and there’s no social distancing.
Speaking of masks and social distancing. Oklahoma Senator Lankford (in the suit with red hair) was definitely not wearing a mask or social distancing. Nice example, Senator!At this point, the MAGAs have it made past the barriers, past the National Guard and past the fence. Now, they pause to get a mask (which hardly anybody wore) and have their temperature taken. Still no protesters blocking anything. No protesters at all.Now, it’s just a few hours until the rally starts — and all the MAGAs are in the building. There’s nobody left in line. If this was a Rick Springfield concert, a monster truck rally, or even a minor league hockey game there would still be folks in line. But all the members of Trump’s angry army coming to Trumpapalooza are already inside the BOK Center. No reinforcements are coming.The scene from one section of the upper deck. Trump fans! Tired of all the winning yet?