Donald Trump’s first 2020 campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. was jam-packed with a slew of confusing, cringe-worthy moments.
For those who didn’t watch live, the rally took place on Saturday night at the city’s Bank of Oklahoma Center. It’s also worth noting that it was held in the middle of a global pandemic, against the advice of medical professionals.
The president and attendees didn’t seem to be fazed by the threat of COVID-19, though. Social distancing was not strictly enforced in the arena, and few people were seen wearing masks – including Trump. But if you thought the lack of concern over health and safety would be the only newsworthy revelation to come out of this event, you’re wrong.
From rows and rows of empty seats, to careless comments about the coronavirus, Confederate monuments, protesters, and more, here are 10 of the most mind-boggling moments from Trump’s Tulsa rally.
1. The big crowd hype
There’s a lot of talk about the crowd (or lack thereof) at Trump’s rally. The week before, the president’s re-election campaign chairman, Brad Parscale, hyped up crowd expectations by tweeting that more than one million tickets had been requested for the rally. When it came time for the actual event, however, chunks and chunks of empty seats were seen in the Bank of Oklahoma Center, which has a seating capacity of 19,000.
Over 1M ticket requests for the @realDonaldTrump #MAGA Rally in Tulsa on Saturday.
Before entering each guest will get:
There will be precautions for the heat and bottled water as well.
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 15, 2020
It’s clear that Trump’s campaign was expecting an overwhelming amount of supporters to show up, because a stage was even set up outside for Trump to address an anticipated overflow crowd. Once the rally began and it was clear that the 19,000 seats in the arena would not even be filled, Trump’s team quickly packed up the outdoor stage.
In wake of the event, reports are circulating that say an online movement (made popular by TikTok teens and K-Pop fans) was partially responsible for all the empty seats. Apparently, after Trump’s campaign to let followers know that they could register for free tickets for the rally using their phones, many people registered without any intention of attending. While the prank didn’t take tickets away from actual Trump supporters, it did raise the campaign’s expectations surrounding interest in the event and left Trump with a whole lot of empty seats.
Image: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images
2. The seemingly endless ramp defense
Remember when Trump gave that commencement address at West Point last weekend and his bizarre walk down a ramp became a whole thing? Yeah. Well, he’s not ready to let that go yet.
We’re now 10 minutes into an explanation for Trump hobbling down the ramp at West Point. You’ve never seen insecurity like this.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) June 21, 2020
Trump spent an embarrassingly long time at his Tulsa rally explaining to his supporters why his walk down that ramp was totally normal and fine. He said that he was “baking like a cake” in the sun for hours and that he’d given around 600 salutes by the time he was asked to descend the ramp. He also said he was worried about falling, because the ramp looked slippery like “an ice skating rink” and his shoes had leather bottoms.
The president even took time to physically reenact his ramp walk on stage, which was especially wild, because I genuinely think that if he just dropped the subject everyone would have forgotten about it already.
3. When Trump drank water and then threw it across the stage
During the same West Point commencement address, Trump was also scrutinized for the way he drank from a glass of water using both hands. At the Tulsa rally, Trump explained that he used two hands because he didn’t want to spill anything on his silk tie.
He then proceeded to drink from his nearby water glass using only one hand, and the crowd furiously cheered. After a few seconds, Trump chucked the glass of water across the stage in a simply embarrassing sight.
4. When he used a racist nickname for COVID-19 and compared it to sniffles
As mentioned earlier, no one at Trump’s rally seemed very concerned about the coronavirus, even though six Trump staffers who worked on the rally tested positive for COVID-19 before the event. As usual, Trump made light of the pandemic and went on to make a joke about how many names the virus has — including racist examples such as “the Chinese virus” and the “Kung Flu.”
He later went on to compare the virus, which has killed more than 120,000 people in the U.S. alone, to the sniffles.
Did the president of the United States just say ‘Kung flu’ at his rally?
He made a racist joke.
He made. A racist. Joke.
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) June 21, 2020
5. When Trump revealed that he slowed down testing
While we’re on the topic of COVID-19, Trump once again went on about how if you don’t test for the virus you won’t technically have any cases. He then revealed that in the middle of a pandemic he asked his people to “slow the testing down please.”
Trump’s people later tried to defend the president’s words as a joke, but it’s a bad look no matter what. He either really did instruct his people to do this dangerously reckless thing with testing, or he made a joke at the expense of 120,000 dead Americans.
6. His defense of Confederate monuments
Since the police killing of George Floyd on May 25 — after a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes — protesters around the country have been toppling statues of known slaveholders and other racist figures. Trump came to the defense of these Confederate monuments at his rally and said, “The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate…our beautiful monuments, tear down our statutes, & punish, cancel & persecute anyone who does not conform their demands for absolute & total control. We’re not conforming.”
TRUMP, on Confederate monuments: “The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate…our beautiful monuments, tear down our statutes, & punish, cancel & persecute anyone who does not conform their demands for absolute & total control. We’re not conforming” pic.twitter.com/020znFMK0U
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) June 21, 2020
7. The bizarre self-bragging
Trump also spent a good portion of the night bragging about himself — but not about his political accomplishments, as you might have expected from someone running for re-election. Instead, Trump bragged several times about how “handsome” he is, his hair, his houses, and the new TVs on Air Force One. Truly, WHAT?
“I look better than them. Much more handsome. Got better hair than they do. I got nicer properties, I got nicer houses, I got nicer apartment, I got nicer everything.” — Trump compares himself to the “elite.” #populism pic.twitter.com/9kA91zb4I3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 21, 2020
8. All the time he spent bashing capable women
Trump didn’t spend the whole night talking about himself, though. He made sure to carve out some time to bash several women who aren’t afraid to stand against him, including Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, and Mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser.
Ah yes – in fact, I’m so uncharismatic and untalented that the President of the United States has dedicated time at multiple rallies over two years to talk about me, a first term member of Congress 💁🏽♀️ https://t.co/OncmV2u7Nw
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2020
I see @AOC and I are living in his head, and apparently there’s a lot of empty room in there… just like tonight’s half empty Tulsa arena.
— Muriel Bowser (@MurielBowser) June 21, 2020
Look, as the impeached President with over 100,000 Americans dead, 40,000,000 people without a paycheck, and massive protests across the country, maybe sit this one out.
The only one failing to run our country is you, not this immigrant.
Immigrants, we get the job done 💪🏽 https://t.co/KR1uUcZPAF
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 21, 2020
9. His suggestion that the right to bear arms is a defense against protesters
When defending the Second Amendment to his supporters, Trump decided to reference the many protests against racism and police brutality that have spread across the country since George Floyd’s death.
“When you see those lunatics all over the streets, it’s damn nice to have arms,” Trump said.
Trump on recent protests across the country: “We will defend … the right to keep and bear arms. And when you see those lunatics all over the streets, it’s damn nice to have arms.” pic.twitter.com/ND35MaD2RO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 21, 2020
10. When he called 2020 “two-twenty”
Compared to the rest of the list, Trump calling the year 2020 “two-twenty” isn’t really that shocking, but it just goes to show that while this man claims to be as mentally stable as a person can be and takes shots at Joe Biden for making occasional mix ups when speaking, he can mispronounce the very year in which he’s running for re-election.
SEE ALSO: While Trump fed on American anger, Tulsa protesters danced in the streets
Thus marks another absolutely exhausting and embarrassing Trump speech that will unfortunately go down in American history. At least now you don’t have to go and watch the whole thing.