About 200 people reportedly showed up to the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Kentucky, which can hold up to 7,000 guests

By Georgia Slater
September 05, 2019 03:38 PM
Donald Trump Jr.

His father loves to boast of his own crowd sizes, but Donald Trump Jr. spoke to a thin crop of attendees — reportedly numbering only a few hundred — at a rally last week in Pikeville, Kentucky.

President Donald Trump‘s eldest son, a frequent surrogate on the campaign trail, attended the event to garner support for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who is seeking re-election against Democratic rival Andy Beshear, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Don Jr., whose father won Pike County in the 2016 election, acknowledged the region’s longtime allegiance to Democrats but said, “This is not your grandfather’s Democratic Party,” the Herald-Leader reported.

According to Louisville radio station WFPL, about 200 people showed up for the event, despite a report from local station WYMT indicating “locals expect a memorable turnout” at the Appalachian Wireless Arena, which can hold up to 7,000 guests.

The Herald-Leader described the scene as “mostly-empty.”

Ryland Barton, a reporter with WFPL, tweeted a photo of the “sparsely attended” event, writing that it was so poorly attended organizers had to ask the audience to move closer to the stage to fill in all the missing gaps.

An Aug. 29 political rally at which Donald Trump Jr. appeared
Ryland Barton

Twitter users saw pictures and videos and criticized Don Jr., 41, for failing to bring in a crowd — even though the president often boasts about the number of attendees he attracts and is reportedly keen on crowd sizes at any of his events.

“Is this the saddest, most pathetic, ‘rally’ in gubernatorial history? The fact that @DonaldJTrumpJr is there makes it that much more enjoyable. Quite the draw there, Jr!” one user wrote.

Another user joked, “I could fit this Don Jr rally in my house and not violate fire code.”

“Don Jr. might need to call Sean Spicer in for some damage control on crowd size here,” wrote a third, alluding to the former White House press secretary’s false statements about the turnout at Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

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Reps for Don Jr., the Trump campaign and Gov. Bevin did not return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

Bevin, 52, won the historically Democratic-leaning Pike County four years ago with 54.8% of the vote, according to the Herald-Leader. However, he lost Pike County during the 2019 Republican primary, despite winning the state.

“Matt Bevin’s small and poorly attended political event will do nothing to make the families of Eastern Kentucky forget how he’s attacked public education, ripped away health care, and insulted teachers,” Sam Newton, spokesman for Beshear’s campaign, said in a statement to WFPL after the rally.

The election between Beshear and Bevin will take place on Nov. 5.