“Empty Seat MAGA Tour” is trending on Twitter because of a disagreement on whether or not President Donald Trump’s rallies have empty seats. Yes, his rallies do sometimes have empty seats. But there are also often overflow spaces outside his rallies for people who are turned away. The debate has made #EmptySeatMAGATour trend on Twitter, but the truth lies somewhere in between both arguments.
Trump Was Right When He Said They Broke Elton John’s Attendance, But Wrong That They Never Have Empty Seats
Part of the disagreement came from Trump saying that he broke Elton John’s attendance at his Thursday night Manchester, New Hampshire rally. Elton John’s attendance was 11,300 in April 2004. When Trump said he beat that, many people took to Twitter to share photos of empty seats seen while Trump was speaking.
Yes, there were a few empty seats. But despite this, Trump was also right about his assertion. Manchester Deputy Fire Marshall Mitchell Cady said that Trump’s crowd inside the arena was just over 11,500, Daily Mail reported. The SNHU arena seats 11,770 for concerts, so even with some seats empty, it could still make that reported number.
Cady added that nearly 8,000 people were outside the arena in an overflow area, bringing the total closer to 19,500 for the event. The Manchester Fire Department confirmed with Heavy that those reported numbers are accurate.
Here’s a photo from the overflow crowd in New Hampshire:
However, Trump was also incorrect in an assertion he made in mid-July. During a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump said: “We haven’t had an empty seat at any event,” The Hill reported. Even though assertions were not correct that his crowd size at the New Hampshire arena was small, it is also not correct that Trump never has any empty seats. So in some ways, #EmptySeatMAGATour can claim a win on both Democrat and Republican sides of the political line.
Here’s a Look Back at the Attendance of Past Trump Rallies
Here’s a quick review of attendance at other Trump rallies.
At his Cincinnati, Ohio rally on August 1, Trump saw an attendance of nearly 17,000 in an arena that seated 17,500.
At the Greenville, North Carolina rally in mid-July, more than 8,000 people attended. According to the local Columbia Daily Herald, the venue was packed with 8,000 people. But in fact, hundreds were turned away at the door after the venue reached capacity. Many of those who were turned away stayed and watched the event on a large screen outside Minges, local publication Reflector noted.
Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale shared an inaccurate number when he estimated over 20,000 were at that rally.
The venue itself only holds 8,000, not 20,000, so the number in the tweet above was not accurate.
At Trump’s Orlando rally in mid-June, however, nearly 20,000 people did show up. The Amway Center’s capacity is nearly 20,000 depending on the setup. Monica Alba of NBC News reported that the venue staff said the capacity can even be 22,000 at times. The venue was packed, she shared in the photos below, and the campaign estimated the final crowd was somewhere between 18,500 and 22,000.
A later video showing the crowd when Trump took the stage in Orlando also showed a packed venue. Philip Crowther from AP said the Amway Center in Orlando was “now packed” after saying earlier that it wasn’t full yet.
Trump’s Grand Rapids, Michigan rally in March was attended by more than 10,000, possibly up to 13,000. Local news source The Monroe News noted that the Van Andel Arena stands appeared to be completely full. A quick Google search for the maximum capacity of Van Andel Arena shows that it’s 10,834. However, Van Andel Arena’s website states that the capacity is 12,000-plus. There was also an overflow crowd for the rally.
So in summary, both Republicans and Democrats are right and wrong when it comes to #EmptySeatMAGATour. Trump’s rallies do sometimes have empty seats and attendance can vary depending on what state he’s in. But his rallies often have thousands attending and require an overflow area for people who can’t get seats. And his statement about beating Elton John’s record at the last event was accurate.