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In response to recent spikes of coronavirus, President Donald Trump has cut back on in-person rallies again and is instead holding virtual ‘tele-rallies,’ which have racked up more than 2.5 million views in recent days.
The president held virtual rallies for voters and supporters in battleground states Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin last week, events that were streamed on Facebook.
As of this writing, President Trump’s Wisconsin tele-rally had garnered more than 996,000 views; his Michigan rally more than 764,000; and his Arizona rally more than 775,000 views.
“I wanted to be with you, and this is really replacing our rallies that we all love so much,” Trump said to open his Friday call, noting that because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, “we’re doing really well with the therapeutics and vaccines, but until that gets solved it’s going to be tough to have those big massive rallies, so I’m doing telephonic rallies, and we’ll call them the Trump rallies, but we’ll do it by telephone.”
The Trump campaign has not ruled out continuing in-person rallies at some point.
“There is nothing like a Donald Trump rally. It is a unique phenomenon in American political history; it is difficult to replicate that experience,” campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told CNN.
The president held his first in-person rally since the coronavirus pandemic began last month in Tulsa, an event that was not as well attended as his previous rallies.
Before the event, Trump campaign officials and the president said that some 1 million people had requested tickets for the venue, but it was later revealed that a sizable portion of those was due to sabotage.
“Social media was abuzz Saturday night with claims that President Trump opponents, many of them teenagers and K-Pop fans, guaranteed that hundreds, even thousands of seats for the Tulsa rally remained empty — by bulk ‘reserving’ tickets they had no intention of using,” the New York Post reported.
Afterward, socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York praised the reported use of a Chinese-owned and government-managed social media platform, TikTok, to help commit the fraud.
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
Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud. ☺️ https://t.co/jGrp5bSZ9T
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.
Thousands did attend the rally, nevertheless, many of whom were hassled by Black Lives Matter demonstrators and others opposed to the president.
A previous rally in Phoenix in February was better attended. At that event, rally-goers carried a World War II vet to his seat, which drew the attention of Trump.
Meanwhile, the president’s presumptive Democrat rival, Joe Biden, has not been holding in-person rallies, choosing instead to host low-energy virtual fundraisers and other events.
Since March, in fact, the Biden campaign has been advised to keep the presumptive nominee under wraps and away from public venues because he is prone to gaffes and confusing, stumbling rants and statements.
Other analysts say that it’s better to keep Biden away from Trump and out of the spotlight until the election to minimize his mistakes and keep his perceived mental decline hidden.
In June, the Biden campaign committed to three debates with President Trump.
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