Just before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrived on stage at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds on Feb. 3, the general manager of the state fair said it had a record-breaking crowd, prompting Trump to brag about the achievement (video below).
“'In 1974 we had ZZ Top here and we set our all-time record of 11,451," Ralph Shoptaw said on stage. "I have just been informed that we have broken that record. Over 11,500. So welcome, Mr. Trump to Barton Coliseum,” he said.
But photos taken at the event as Trump spoke at the Barton Coliseum reveal a different story, according to Daily Mail.
When Trump arrived at the half-empty arena, he proclaimed “Amazing!” and began his speech with, “So we broke the record, and I asked the fire marshal, 'Please come up because nobody's going to believe me. Please come up.'"
Soon after the rally, Trump tweeted, “THANK YOU to everyone in Little Rock, Arkansas tonight! A record crowd of 12K.”
But there’s one problem: the Barton Arena only has 7,150 seats with room for an additional 3,045 in-floor seating, totaling 10,195 seats, according to the venue’s website.
Although Trump’s attendees were mostly standing and not sitting, the floor was less than half full and some sections of seats remained mostly empty.
A clip panning in on the sparse crowd in Little Rock was uploaded onto YouTube on Feb. 3.
Trump was almost two hours late to the arena and arrived at 7:45 p.m. after his private jet was forced to make an emergency landing due to engine problems.
He told the crowd it was “rough” getting there, but there was “no way” he would head back to New York instead of continue on to Little Rock. “I love Arkansas,” he added.
Trump has drawn vast crowds to many of his high-energy rallies in the past, including some legitimate head-counts of more than 20,000.
He often comments on the size of his enthusiastic crowd and claims the media only shows his enormous audience is when the cameras pan to rowdy protestors.