With the memory of his abnormally small inauguration crowd still fresh in his mind, Donald Trump waited backstage at his Phoenix campaign rally and reportedly became enraged by the puny crowd waiting to hear him speak. In fact, he was so angry, he fired his longtime event organizer. From Bloomberg:
TV and social media coverage showed that the site of his campaign rally, the Phoenix Convention Center, was less than full. Backstage, waiting in a room with a television monitor, Trump was displeased, one person familiar with the incident said: TV optics and crowd sizes are extremely important to the president.
As his surrogates warmed up the audience, the expanse of shiny concrete eventually filled in with cheering Trump fans. But it was too late for a longtime Trump aide, George Gigicos, the former White House director of advance who had organized the event as a contractor to the Republican National Committee. Trump later had his top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he’d never manage a Trump rally again, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Gigicos, one of the four longest-serving political aides to the president, declined to comment.
Once again, Donald Trump is too chickenshit to fire someone in person, sending his security guard Keith Schiller to do his dirty work. Schiller is the same person Trump sent to fire former FBI director James Comey.
Bloomberg notes that Gigicos recently left the White House for a job at the RNC, but was still managing Trump’s campaign rallies.
The crowd did eventually fill in more, but it was certainly not at capacity. US News & World Report reporter David Catanese captured the very scenes an enraged Trump must have been looking at on the television monitor as he waited to take the stage:
That didn’t stop Trump from repeatedly bringing up his “massive” crowd again and again over the last week. A week after the Phoenix rally, he was still bringing up the crowd size at a completely unrelated press conference:
“You saw the massive crowd we had,” he said at a White House news conference on Monday with Finland President Sauli Niinisto. “The people went crazy when I said, ‘What do you think of sheriff Joe?’ Or something to that effect.”
The convention audience wasn’t the only crowd he lied about. During his speech he told the audience, “There aren’t too many people outside protesting.” In fact, there are more people outside protesting than there were inside the hall. From Politifact:
“There aren’t too many people outside protesting.”
That’s False. For hours leading up to the rally, the coverage on national networks showed sizeable crowds out on the streets carrying signs criticizing the president and his response to the Charlottesville, Va., riots ignited by supporters of white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups.
Local media also reported on thousands of anti-Trump protesters out on the streets, some photos show protesters held back by barricades outside the convention center where Trump was speaking. After the rally, the Phoenix police chief said the city’s downtown had “tens of thousands” of people exercising their First Amendment rights.
What must it be like to live with such a fragile ego?