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June 21, 2020, 9:18 p.m. EDT

Ocasio-Cortez thanks ‘TikTok teens’ she says ‘tricked’ Trump campaign

Trump campaign said that the ‘phony ticket requests’ didn’t factor into the calculations

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch


Getty
The upper section of the arena is seen partially empty as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kids these days.

Trump’s big campaign rally in Tulsa wasn’t as big as promised — the arena seats more than 19,000 people but only a reported 6,200 Trump supporters occupied the general admissions sections. Why? Both sides of the political aisle were armed with answers.

The man leading the president’s re-election efforts explained away the no-shows.

“Radical protestors, fueled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally,” Brad Parscale explained. “They even blocked access to the metal detectors, preventing people from entering.”

Trump, for his part, took to the stage and backed that assessment, saying the media’s urging of his supporters not to attend on top of the protesters outside kept the crowds away.

“We begin our campaign,” Trump said. “The silent majority is stronger than ever before.”

But New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t buying it, and she shared her appreciation with those she believes duped the Trump administration:

Ocasio-Cortz was referring to the teenage TikTok users and K-pop fans who were reportedly behind the “millions” of ticket requests ahead of the event. After the Trump campaign’s official account posted a tweet asking supporters to register for free tickets earlier this month, the youngsters decided to prank the administration by pushing followers to sign up but not show.

If true, it sure seemed to work:

“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 26, told the New York Times . “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”

Daniel, who took part in the prank, said most of the people deleted the evidence after the first day so that the Trump campaign wouldn’t catch wind.

“These kids are smart and they thought of everything,” he said.

Erin Hoffman was one of those “kids,” apparently.

“Trump has been actively trying to disenfranchise millions of Americans in so many ways, and to me, this was the protest I was able to perform,” she told the Times. “He doesn’t deserve the platform he has been given.” Hoffman also persuaded her parents to reserve two tickets.

With all the buzz over the prank, #TikTokTeens was trending on Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +0.15% Sunday:

Meanwhile, Team Trump focused on the positives:

And Parscale followed up denying the validity of the reports.

“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” he said. “Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool.”

He added that the “phony ticket requests” didn’t factor into the calculations.

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Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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