Donald Trump staff defensive over claims of poor turnout at Georgia rally

Donald Trump staff defensive over claims of poor turnout at Georgia rally

Donald Trump’s staff has gone on the defensive over reports that his weekend rally in Georgia had low attendance, with Mr Trump himself attributing them to “fake news”.

Mr Trump addressed a rally in Commerce, Georgia on Saturday in support of several of Georgia’s Republican primary candidates.

The former president’s chief spokeswoman Liz Harrington squared off with conservative commentator Erick Erickson, who called the turnout “anemic”.

“The Trump turnout on a Saturday in Georgia was anemic. That does not bode well for his slate of candidates,” he tweeted.

“Not all the people there were from Georgia or even able to vote. And Perdue and the other candidates had to foot the bill. Oof.”

“25k-35k is ‘anemic’. Fake news!” Ms Harrington replied to Mr Erickson in a quote tweet.

The former president said later, in a statement posted by Ms Harrington, that the media “absolutely refuses” to show what he claimed were large crowds at his rally.

“We had a massive crowd last night in Georgia, but as usual, the Fake News Media absolutely refuses to show it. People are estimating 25,000 to 35,000 people, but our record so far is Texas with 87,000 people with 50,000 being turned away. This is really fun!” he said.

Mr Trump’s statement came after reports emerged that the rally had failed to draw crowds, with images of the empty seats shared widely on social media.

Several commentators said the event might have witnessed the smallest crowd ever at a Trump rally.

Greg Bluestein, a political reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said in a tweet: “I’ve covered more than two dozen Trump rallies around the nation.

“This is the smallest crowd I’ve seen at a rally of his in Georgia since he won the 2016 election—significantly smaller than the crowd in Perry in September.”

Stephen Fowler, a reporter at Georgia Public Broadcasting, said: “It’s almost time for Trump to speak here in Georgia and there’s probably no more than 5,000 people here, the smallest Trump rally I’ve ever covered here.

“Way less than the Perry rally in 2021 (closer to 10k) and nowhere close to 2020’s 20-30k+.”

Mr Fowler also reported that people from the crowd continued to stream out during the rally.

“People keep leaving during Trump speech. It’s cold and windy and there’s not much enthusiasm,” he wrote on Twitter, sharing photos of empty stands.

At the rally, Mr Trump reiterated his claim that he won the 2020 election and hinted that he may run again.

“The truth is, I ran twice, I won twice, and I did much better the second time. And now, we just may have to do it again,” he said.

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