The Empty Seats At Trump's Pennsylvania Rally Say More Than His Words Can
The weekend of Trump's 100th day in office was a full one, politically. On Saturday night there were two competing political events, both high-profile for different reasons. Earlier in the day marked Donald Trump's rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an event he purposely scheduled instead of attending the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, D.C.
Traditionally, the spirit behind the White House Correspondents' Dinner is one that combines banter with serious criticism. It allows journalists, entertainers, and celebrities an opportunity to gather alongside each other and share drinks while roasting the president, and also bringing up legitimate concerns. However, in order for that to happen, the president needs to be there.
It should be noted that Trump's absence wasn't out of left field. A few months ago, on Feb. 25, Trump announced he'd miss The White House Correspondents' Dinner in a tweet, when he said, "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!"
Instead, he opted to hold a rally at the Pennsylvania Farm Complex in Harrisburg, where he gave an hour-long speech about his first 100 days in office, and the plans he has for the future of this administration. He also managed to bash the media as well, at one point saying the media should be given "a big, fat, failing grade," according to reports from BBC.
Trump made it abundantly clear that he was relieved to miss the White House Correspondents' Dinner throughout his speech. Reports from CBS News reveal that he even started his speech by bashing the other event. He said:
While Trump confidently touted his crowd as superior, journalist Jonathan Tamari of the Philly Inquirer posted tweets revealing empty seats.
Trump says "we have a lot of ppl standing outside" and he "broke the all time record" in this arena. There are rows of empty seats here pic.twitter.com/ixbErKjrQu— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) April 30, 2017
Meanwhile, the White House Correspondents Dinner was sold out, with not an empty seat to be seen, let alone an empty row.
This feels like a situation where it's wisest to let the pictures do the talking, because there are a lot of words and feelings these images elicit.
Again, here's what the rally looked like: full of people, certainly, but not topping The White House Correspondents' Dinner.
Here's another part of the arena where Trump says people have been left standing outside. Lots of ppl here, but not at all capacity pic.twitter.com/M6gtVF0PhN— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) April 30, 2017
As Tamari stated in a later tweet, the issue wasn't that Trump didn't draw a crowd at his rally. He certainly did. However, the pathos lies in the fact that he felt the need to bolster his rally as the superior event.
Thing is, there IS a big crowd here. A loud and excited one. POTUS could easily - and truthfully- talk about that. But has to claim more.— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) April 30, 2017
Pictures really do speak louder than words. In this case, they say a lot about the difference between what Trump sees and what many of the rest of us see.