Donald Trump’s staff have doubled down on reports his weekend rally in Georgia had few visitors, with Mr Trump himself denying the reports, attributing them to “fake news”.
Mr. Trump spoke at a rally in Commerce, Georgia on Saturday in support of several of Georgia’s main Republican candidates.
The former president’s chief spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, disagreed with Conservative commentator Erick Erickson, who said the crowd was “the turnout on a Saturday [rally] in Georgia was anemic”.
“The Trump turnout on a Saturday in Georgia was anemic. This doesn’t bode well for his slate of candidates,” he tweeted.
“Not all the people there were from Georgia or even eligible to vote. And Perdue and the other candidates had to foot the bill. Oof.”
“25,000-35,000 is ‘anaemic.’ Fake news!” Ms Harrington replied to Mr Erickson in a quote tweet.
The former president later said in a statement released by Ms Harrington that the media “absolutely refuses” to show what he described as a large crowd at his rally.
“We had a massive crowd in Georgia last night but as usual the fake news media absolutely refuses to show it. People estimate 25,000 to 35,000 people, but our previous record is Texas with 87,000 people, 50,000 of whom were 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 circulating widely on social media.
Several commentators said the event saw what may have been 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 country.
“This is the smallest crowd I’ve seen at a rally of his in Georgia since he won the 2016 election — significantly fewer than the crowd in Perry in September.”
Georgia Public Broadcasting reporter Stephen Fowler said: “It’s almost time for Trump to speak here in Georgia and there are probably no more than 5,000 people here, the smallest Trump rally I’ve ever covered here.
“Much less than the Perry rally in 2021 (closer to 10,000) and nowhere near the 20-30,000+ of 2020.”
Mr Fowler also reported that people continued to pour out of the crowd during the rally.
“People keep leaving during the Trump speech. It’s cold and windy and there’s not much enthusiasm,” he wrote on Twitter, sharing photos of empty booths.
At the rally, Mr Trump reiterated his claim that he won the 2020 election and hinted he could run again.
“The truth is, I ran twice, I won twice and I was much better the second time. And now we might have to do it again,” he said.