The hashtag #EmptySeatMAGATour dominated Twitter on Friday as Trump haters took to the social media network to poke fun at several empty seats that appeared on camera during the president’s Thursday night “Keep America Great” campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire.
It was quite a virtual party - albeit not nearly as fun as a real-life Trump rally - and some of the biggest NeverTrump names were there, obnoxiously chortling at the president’s supposed inability to draw a crowd these days.
“Trump keeps saying his rallies are full, but doesn’t look like it,” tweeted Trump-hating blogger Tony Posnanski. “Wow, I would hate for #EmptySeatMAGATour to trend so people knew the truth.”
“I love that #EmptySeatMAGATour is trending. #EmptySoulMAGATour should as well,” John Pavlovitz, a leftist, anti-Trump pastor, tweeted.
“#EmptySeatMAGATour is funny because it’s true,” wrote the insufferable Louise Mensch. “@realDonaldTrump is losing his base. The @GOP is going to go down with him. Watch how the Senate change their votes on impeachment when they realize it.”
The pictures and videos were all over Twitter too, generally accompanying the critics’ tweets. “SEE!! SEE!! Here is ‘proof, PROOF that The Bad Orange Man isn’t drawing anywhere near the crowds he brags about. Sad!!” they all wrote in unison, pretty much.
Of course, whether the topic is Russia, trade, immigration policy, or even the crowds at MAGA rallies, as is typically the case with Trump haters and their inane talking points, it just takes a small glance below the surface to find out they are full of hot air.
Were there empty seats that night at SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire? Yes, there did appear to be some unoccupied seats. But an empty seat by itself doesn’t mean someone wouldn’t have, given the opportunity, been available to fill it. Consider:
Of the rally’s attendance, Heavy.com wrote that “so many people showed up that many had to stay outside in the overflow space.” This is typical of Trump events, not that the likes of Louise Mensch would know. People register for tickets, which are issued for free but are also unlimited and do not guarantee a seat, then some line up for days to get one of the coveted spots inside the arena. At rally time, ticket holders end up at one of three places, outside watching the event on a big screen, an overflow room inside the facility (sometimes), and the arena itself.
In the case of Thursday’s rally, Vice correspondent Elizabeth Landers documented rally goers outside during the event. Kayleigh McEnany also posted later video of “thousands watching” the event from outside on the big screens. Might, perchance, any of those “thousands” of folks standing outside have appreciated an opportunity to fill one of those empty seats the NeverTrumpers are crowing about on Twitter from their couches?
Trump, as is his way, after the event posted a boast about breaking “the all-time attendance record previously held by Elton John at #SNHUArena in Manchester, New Hampshire!”
The notion of the president breaking Elton John’s attendance records doesn’t quite jive with the NeverTrump narrative of lonely Drumpf and his “Sad!” stacks of empty seats. So, is Trump’s bold boast true? And if so, what happened? Thankfully, DailyMail published the answer in a Friday night fact-check.
“Manchester Deputy Fire Marshal Mitchell Cady told DailyMail.com that Trump was right – that his crowd numbered 'just over 11,500,’” Daily Mail wrote. “Calling the president's tweet 'a topic of discussion around here,' Cady revealed that 'the arena staff said Elton John was around 11,300' in April 2004.”
The fire marshal also told the outlet that he estimated at least 8,000 people in the overflow crowd area outside the arena watching on jumbo screens. He also noted that the 11,500 number could be a “slight under-estimate” thanks to the possibility of people slipping through the counters.
Then, there was a SNHU Arena official who anonymously told DailyMail that the “nosebleed seats” would have been offset “by all the people cramming themselves into the standing-room space on the arena floor.”
“The Trump people wanted the fire marshal to let more people in, and at some point they say no,” he told the outlet. “But there were tons and tons more outside. It's not like they couldn't fill the place.”
People criticize Trump for getting annoyed at such ‘trivial’ matters as crowd counts, but when the opposition engages in such blatant lying, it’s easy to understand the frustration.
It almost makes you wonder what else they are lying about, doesn’t it?