Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Thursday that pictures that showed him speaking to a half-empty South Carolina ballroom did not show an accurate story.
According to Daily Mail, Trump said, “The room was full. Everybody surged forward. I was speaking from the podium. Everybody was wrapped around the podium. If they hadn’t done that, there wouldn’t have been an empty seat. They all got out of their chairs and they ran to the front. And I look like a schmuck. If those people moved back into their chairs, the room was full. Totally full.”
Pictures circulated by media show six rows of empty seats towards the back of the hall. “If you look at the pictures when I walked in,” Trump said, “it took me 10 minutes to get to the podium. They’re taking pictures, and high-fiving me.” Trump further said that “[the audience] all stood there and didn’t go back [to their chairs]” when he started speaking. “I’ve never made a speech where there were so many people wrapped around the podium in the front. That’s what happened.”
In their defense, the Trump campaign released pictures and a video footage that showed a mass of people greeting him as he arrived at the convention center in North Charleston. However, the original picture that caused frenzy does not show any article or possession to suggest that people were seated in the empty chairs and moved forward when Trump started speaking.
“The photographer is a f***ing thief,” Trump said. The photographer who took the picture was from Associated Press. “Tell them they’re a fraud, whoever took it. I just got killed on that thing, and it was just really unfair. It’s godd**n unfair. The point is that everybody from the back rushed to the front. And the people who put out the pictures knew it.” Trump further added, “And they said, “Oh, look! The back 25 per cent [is empty]”.”
Trump said he was at the convention center to address a group of black business owners. He had agreed to give a speech as a personal favor.
“I did that as a favor for a person,” Trump said. “So much for doing favors for people.”
The story made quick and rapid rounds throughout media on Wednesday. According to the New York Times, which published a story titled, “A Day of Empty Seats and Donald Trump in Full Attack,” Trump “found a far larger crowd on Wednesday night at a candidate forum in Columbia hosted by Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina, filling most of an auditorium’s 2,200 seats on the University of South Carolina campus.”
Trump has built a reputation for attracting large audience crowds during his campaign. In late August, almost 31,000 people arrived at a football stadium for a rally. Another rally conducted this month in Dallas attracted around 20,000 people to the American Airlines Center.
Meanwhile, Trump lashed out at Richard Lowry, the editor of the conservative magazine National Review, after Lowry used unsavory remarks about the Republican presidential candidate, as reported by Yahoo News. Lowry said that Trump had attacked Carly Fiorina because she emasculated him at last week’s presidential debate.
“Part of what’s going on here is that last debate. Let’s be honest: Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it,” Lowry said during a Fox News interview, according to a video footage posted by Mediaite.
In response, Trump tweeted that Lowry was “incompetent” and “clueless.” Trump further demanded an apology, and said that Lowry should be fined by the Federal Communications Commission. In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Trump said Lowry “used words that were so unbelievable,” that he “made a total fool of himself,” and had a “nervous breakdown on television.”
However, the matter didn’t end there. Lowry, refusing to lay down his arms, issued a series of tweets in reply, writing that Trump used a “boorish insult” against Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, when he had said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” However, Trump had later defended his remark, saying that he wasn’t talking about “looks. I am talking about persona.”
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