White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday said President Trump was “very pleased” with his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma over the weekend, pushing back on reports saying the president was furious after the event saw a smaller-than-expected turnout.
“The president was very pleased with the rally,” Ms. McEnany told reporters at the White House. “I was with him on Marine One … after — he was very pleased with how the rally went.”
The event marked Mr. Trump’s first large-scale rally since March 2. The coronavirus pandemic had forced the president and other political candidates to put traditional campaigning on hold.
“A political pundit wrote to him that it was one of the all-time great speeches they’d ever heard,” Ms. McEnany said. “We saw him expose his own humanity when he described the wonderful West Point story.”
“The speech made his message so clear and compelling that no one could possibly have missed it, and it was so great to be out of the swamp and in the country,” she continued.
Mr. Trump used some of his time at the rally to explain his walking gingerly down a ramp after he delivered a recent commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
He said he told the West Point superintendent, “There is no way I can walk down that ramp without falling on my ass.”
Ms. McEnany referred a question to the campaign on whether there were plans to make changes to the rallies moving forward.
The president was reportedly displeased with the event, which featured empty seats in the approximately 19,000-capacity arena.
The local fire department estimated that about 6,200 people attended, though the Trump campaign estimated that the number was about 12,000.
The campaign also touted that the rally attracted more than 4 million unique viewers across their digital media platforms.
Mr. Trump’s campaign had boasted last week that more than 1 million people requested tickets, but the campaign ended up canceling plans for Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to address an overflow crowd that never really materialized.
The campaign pushed back on reports that teenagers across the U.S. duped officials by requesting tickets without ever intending to go to the rally.
Campaign manager Brad Parscale said they weeded out “tens of thousands” of bogus numbers and that the “phony ticket requests” never factor into their thinking.
“The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally,” Mr. Parscale said.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to appear Tuesday at a “Students for Trump” event at Dream City Church in Phoenix.
He’s also scheduled to tour part of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Yuma, Arizona, on Tuesday.