Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was apparently not in the mood for Team Trump’s spin on Sunday morning, repeatedly pushing back at Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp’s excuses for President Donald Trump’s poor campaign rally attendance.
For days ahead of Saturday night’s lightly attended rally in Tulsa, the Trump campaign set sky-high expectations for the turnout, boasting about the roughly 1 million tickets that had been requested while setting up an outdoor stage for an expected overflow crowd. In the end, however, only 6,200 attendees showed up to the 19,000-capacity BOK Center, resulting in large swaths of empty seats.
Interviewing Schlapp on Fox News Sunday, Wallace noted that the arena was far from packed and that the overflow crowd stage event had to be canceled, asking the campaign aide what happened.
After hyping the large number of RSVPs, which could be due to a concerted troll effort by TikTok teens, Schlapp went on to boast about the digital audience before blaming the dismal turnout on protesters blocking the entrances.
Wallace, meanwhile, noted that Trump has always made a big issue about the attendance of his events and loves to contrast that with his opponents’ supposed lack of ability to draw huge crowds. After Schlapp tried to interject, the Fox anchor fired back.
“He didn’t fill an arena last night,” he stated. “And you guys were so far off that you had planned an outdoor rally and there wasn’t an overflow crowd and watching the coverage and talking to [Fox News correspondent] Mark Meredith on the ground today, protesters did not stop people from coming to that rally.”
Schlapp continued to insist that protesters prevented Trump supporters from attending before pivoting to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s rally sizes, prompting Wallace to jump back in to refocus the conversation.
“Mercedes, please don’t filibuster,” the veteran host fumed. “Please don’t filibuster. We’re showing pictures here and it shows big empty areas. Frankly, it makes you guys look silly when you deny the reality of what happened.”
“We are not denying the reality—I don’t know what you’re saying,” Schlapp contended.
“There are empty seats there,” Wallace retorted. “At least a third if not a half of the rally was empty—the arena was empty. You can’t deny it.”
The longtime Republican operative—and former Fox News contributor—once again tried to turn the focus on Biden, resulting in Wallace calling her out.
“Mercedes, you’re shifting to a campaign speech, which has nothing to do with the attendance of the rally,” he proclaimed before eventually moving on to recent polls showing Trump is way behind Biden.