Brad Parscale told Trump that the venue for his Tulsa rally was like "Beirut in the eighties."
That's according to "Betrayal," the ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl's upcoming book.
Trump's June 2020 rally in Tulsa had far fewer attendees than expected.
The former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told the president that the venue for his June 2020 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, looked as empty and desolate as "Beirut in the eighties," a forthcoming book says.
Jonathan Karl, ABC News' Washington correspondent, describes the Tulsa rally and the surge in COVID-19 cases it's suspected of causing in an excerpt of his book "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show," which was published Thursday in Vanity Fair.
By mid-June 2020, President Donald Trump had determined that the solution to his deteriorating poll numbers was to get back on the road with his signature rallies.
While Parscale and his team pitched Trump on more COVID-19-safe options, including a drive-in rally in Tampa, Florida, multiple outdoor venues, and even a boat rally outside Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump insisted on an indoor location that could hold a huge crowd, Karl writes.
The Trump campaign eventually settled on the BOK Center in Oklahoma, a state with a Republican governor and relatively relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite Parscale saying there were hundreds of thousands of ticket sign-ups and registrations on Twitter, the kind of giant, boisterous crowds typical of pre-pandemic Trump rallies never materialized that day in Tulsa.
"Is it going to be full?" Trump asked Parscale on the phone from Air Force One on his way to Oklahoma, according to "Betrayal."
"No, sir. It looks like Beirut in the eighties," Parscale replied, according to Karl.
From the mid-1970s to the early '90s, Beirut, the capital of the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon, was beset by civil war, conflicts with other nations such as Israel and Syria, and general unrest and instability.
Karl writes that Parscale felt anxious about the failure to draw a big crowd and apologized to Trump on that phone call for the low attendance, which was being highlighted and mocked on social media before the rally even started.
"I'm sorry. I threw everything I could at it," Parscale told Trump before the former president hung up on him, Karl writes.
Parscale, the book adds, then told other staff that "none of you should go anywhere near the president today, including me," because of Trump's anger about the turnout.
Read the original article on Business Insider