President Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke held competing rallies in Dallas, Texas today about 15 miles apart. Despite what some online reports might say, both rallies had a good turnout, although Trump’s venue was much larger than O’Rourke’s. O’Rourke’s brought in about 5,500 and Trump’s had an overflow crowd with an attendance of about 18,500. Read on to see photos of the rallies and learn more about how many people attended. This story will begin with photos and details from O’Rourke’s event, which was held first, and then the second section will discuss Trump’s rally and the attendance. (This story has been updated to reflect the Trump rally’s official crowd estimate.)
Beto O’Rourke’s Rally Had an Attendance of 5,532
Beto O’Rourke’s rally was called “Rally Against Fear” and it was aimed to be an alternative to Trump’s rally. The rally started at 6 p.m., about an hour before Trump’s, but the two events overlapped. It was held at the Theater at Grand Prairie, about 15 miles away from Trump’s rally.
In total, about 5,532 people attended the rally in a venue that had about 6,300 seats, ABC reported on Twitter. There were people in the overflow arena too, according to reports from people who were there, but the count likely includes those.
This number was confirmed by other sources too, including the Texas Tribune.
O’Rourke’s rally invitation read: “We will not be defined by this president’s fear, his hate, or the differences between us that he tries to exploit but instead by a renewed sense of hope and a unified vision for the future of our country. In this moment of smallness, paranoia, and division, Texas is going to lead the way with our strength, our courage, our diversity, and the big, bold, ambitious things we want to achieve together.”
The Theater at Grand Prairie has a seating capacity of 6,350 indoors, so it was expected to have a smaller attendance than Trump’s rally, which had a 20,000-seat capacity.
As you can see from the photo below, the line to get into O’Rourke’s rally was quite long:
Allie Spillyards of NBC DFW noted that O’Rourke’s rally had just a few empty seats and the venue looked full. But she later corrected herself and said the orchestra seating was completely full, but the upper balcony was not open.
Others also said that the venue appeared full.
By 8:11 p.m., an hour into Trump’s rally and two hours into O’Rourke’s, Beto O’Rourke had not started speaking yet, while Trump was partway through his speech. O’Rourke began his speech shortly after.
O’Rourke’s campaign said the attendance was 5,532 people.
Trump’s Rally Was Attended by 18,500 People
Trump’s rally was held in Dallas at 7 p.m. at the American Airlines Center. The rally was part of his Keep America Great 2020 campaign tour. The rally’s attendance was expected to be big, with capacity at the American Airlines Center at about 20,000.
On Friday, October 18, the American Airlines Center and the Dallas Fire Department reported there were 18,500 people at Trump’s rally, which is within the 20,000-seat capacity of the arena, CBS News reported. The Dallas Police reported the day before that about 5,000 people were outside during the rally, including supporters and some protesters mixed in. It’s not clear if the 18,500 count includes those 5,000.
According to people who were there, the venue was full and there was a large overflow crowd.
Here’s a video shared at 8:30 p.m., after the rally started, showing an overflow area for Trump’s rally.
Gov. Greg Abbott met Trump on the tarmac but could not be at the rally due to another event taking place in Houston that he was attending, the Corpus Christi Caller Times noted. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Sen. Ted Cruz were expected to be at the rally itself.
People were lined up for the rally hours before the doors opened.
This video was taken just before 2 p.m., about two hours before doors opened and five hours before the rally.
When doors opened, the line was all the way down the street.
Of course, Trump had words about O’Rourke. He talked about O’Rourke wanting to “get rid of religion” (in reference to O’Rourke’s stance on churches’ tax-exempt status) and said, he was the only one who noticed that O’Rourke is a “flailer.”
Trump spoke for about 80 minutes.
In summary, both rallies had a strong attendance and filled their venues, and both rallies had excited, enthusiastic crowds. But Trump’s rally, with an attendance of 18,500, was larger than O’Rourke’s rally of 5,532.