President Trump bragged about the size of the crowd at his 100-day rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday — as journalists shared photos of rows of empty seats in the arena.
Trump held a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania instead of attending the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington D.C. with members of the media. President Trump is the first president in decades to skip the annual event. President Ronald Reagan, who was recovering from a gunshot wound after a failed assassination attempt, was the last president who decided not to attend the dinner.
Trump said that, compared to those attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, the crowd at his Pennsylvania rally was “much larger” and consisted of “better people.” Trump also said his rally broke attendance records at the expo center. He claimed there were people standing outside waiting to get in.
But tweets from Jonathan Tamari, D.C. correspondent for the Philly Inquirer, show some seats in the arena that were left empty.
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
Trump has a history of overstating the crowds at his events. After photos revealed relatively small crowds at his inauguration, for example, spokespeople from the Trump administration countered that Trump actually had the biggest inaugural event in history and accused the media of lying. Trump officials went so far as to tell the National Park Service to stop tweeting out photos of the National Mall that revealed the sparse crowd.
Meanwhile, on Saturday night, comedian Hasan Minhaj did not hold back in his criticism of Trump or his administration during his performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Minhaj joked that Trump was in Pennsylvania “because he can’t take a joke.”
Minhaj added it was a good thing the president couldn’t attend because he “has done far too much bombing this month.”
Minhaj also took aim at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, and Vice President Mike Pence, and Ivanka Trump, whose official role is not clear.