Chris White, DCNF
A 51-year-old Iowa woman has led an effort get President Donald Trump to address an empty auditorium when he speaks at a campaign rally next week.
Mary Jo Laupp posted a video on video sharing platform TikTok last week encouraging her followers to register for Trump’s campaign rally in Oklahoma and then not attend. The plan is designed to purchase as many tickets as possible, forcing the president to address a largely empty auditorium on June 20.
“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,” Laupp told her TikTok followers. The platform is known more for dancing teenagers than a stage for people to engage in political advocacy.
Laupp made the appeal because she was upset that the rally was originally set to take place on Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Trump announced Saturday that he would move his rally to June 20 out of respect for the commemoration.
Laupp’s video had been viewed more than 1.8 million times on TikTok as of Tuesday evening.
“Leftists do this all the time,” Erin Perrine, principal deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, told CNN. ‘They think if they sign up for tickets that will leave empty seats. 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.”
The Trump campaign has not placed a limit on how many people can request tickets, according to CNN, and social media users who intend on registering must hand over a phone number to the president’s campaign, fueling Trump’s data-collecting operation.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed there had been 800,000 sign-ups and described the massive amount of responses on Twitter June 14 as the “Biggest data haul and rally signup of all time by 10x.”
Laupp told CNN that the Trump campaign will “find bodies to put in seats,” but said she believes her stunt is an effective way to highlight the president’s original plan to hold the rally on Juneteenth.