Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., told “Fox & Friends Weekend” that the mainstream media would have complained about the crowd size of President Trump’s campaign rally in Oklahoma on Saturday whether the arena was full or not.
Zeldin made the point on Sunday after several media outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, were quick to point out that Trump failed to fill the arena at his campaign rally in Tulsa, despite expectations of a packed house.
In advance of the Saturday event, Trump supporters had been lining up for days to secure their seats in an arena that holds just under 20,000, and the Trump campaign touted Monday receiving over 1 million ticket requests. Nevertheless, there were a number of empty seats on the upper levels inside.
Zeldin said on Sunday that the media outlets who pointed out that there were empty seats inside the venue would have been “complaining that there are too many” people inside if the venue was fully occupied.
“They showed this days in advance that they were going to be complaining about the amount of people who were there regardless, so there’s that dynamic,” Zeldin added.
The rally, his first since early March, comes amid prolonged concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide outcry over racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Zeldin, who attended Trump’s rally before thousands of supporters in Tulsa, told “Fox & Friends Weekened” that “the energy was outstanding.”
“Everybody who was there, they were excited to be there,” he continued. “There were people who were camped out for days waiting for the opportunity to get into the venue.”
“The energy inside of that arena was absolutely fantastic of people, bleeding red, white and blue, loving our country, principled, passionate, they love their president not just enough to be showing up there, but enough to be campaigning hard to get him four more years in office,” Zeldin added.
He went on to point out that “Oklahoma is deep into a reopening” and “Joe Biden is campaigning out of his basement.”
Zeldin said Democrats “really don’t want President Trump to get back on the campaign trail.”
He went on to say that “President Trump is the type of person who wants to get around America and be able to do these rallies and understand[s] there is a huge stakes election coming up in November and the president wants to be out with the people.”
In the arena, Trump accused the media of dissuading would-be participants. Campaign manager Brad Parscale, on Twitter, said, “Radical protesters, fueled by a week of apocalyptic media coverage, interfered with @realDonaldTrump supporters at the rally.”
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. – a frequent Trump target during the rally – tweeted in response that “teens on TikTok” had made “fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID.”
In response, Zeldin pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez was “bragging about them meddling like that because they don’t have better things to do.”
He added that Democrats “don’t have the opportunity to register for a rally for Joe Biden because Joe Biden is hanging out in his basement.”
“If Joe Biden was having a rally yesterday, in Tulsa, Okla., for example, there would be barely anybody there at all,” Zeldin went on to say.
“We saw a lot of the Black Lives Matter protesters and their activities to prevent individuals from being able to get into the venue and again, you had people camping out there since Wednesday, so there were a few dynamics that were at play.”
On Sunday Parscale tweeted a photo of what he said was the “main gate of the rally,” which was blocked by protesters, and wrote on Twitter, “Sure no blocked gates @cnn. @cnn if you think families with children will push through this your [sic] sick. America, this is the country @cnn is ok with, think about that.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.