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Trump campaign seeks to reset after flubbed rally

US President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign hit out at protesters and the media on Sunday as it scrambled to reset after a disappointing relaunch at a rally beset by missteps.

The event in Tulsa, Oklahoma was marred by empty seats, coronavirus infections within the campaign and a rambling speech by Trump that was criticized for having nothing of substance to say on the pandemic or racial tensions gripping America.

The White House had promised Saturday’s much-hyped event – Trump’s first rally in three months – would be flooded with up to 100,000 people, but large sections of the 19,000-capacity BOK Center were empty.

An outdoor event for the overflow crowd was canceled because no one showed up, despite the campaign claiming huge interest ahead of time and boasting more than a million ticket requests.

Trump has something of an obsession with big crowds, frequently boasting about the size of his rallies compared with those of Joe Biden, his Democratic rival for November’s presidential election.

The president refrained from commenting on the rally as the dust settled the following morning, tweeting only to deliver a Father’s Day greeting.

But several US media outlets, citing multiple sources close to the White House, said he was “furious” at the small crowd in Tulsa.

Senior Trump campaign aide Mercedes Schlapp told Fox News Sunday that attendees had been unable to get into the BOK Center because their way was blocked by demonstrators.

She added that families “didn’t want to bring – couldn’t bring – their children because of concerns of the protesters.” 

‘Phony ticket requests

But reporters on the ground said they saw no problems for people trying to get in.

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