Donald Trump Jr. Event So Poorly Attended Organizers Had to Ask Audience to Move Closer to Stage

Donald Trump Jr. headlined a rally on Thursday afternoon for Kentucky's Gov. Matt Bevin, but attendance at the event was reportedly so poor that organizers encouraged people to leave their seats and huddle closer to the stage.

The president's eldest son and his partner Kimberley Guilfoyle were rallying at Pikeville's Appalachian Wireless Arena in support of Bevin's re-election bid. Pike County is historically Democratic in its local politics, though tended recently to back Republicans as president.

According to WFPL reporter Ryland Barton, the event was "sparsely-attended" and "organizers have asked the audience to move out of the seats and closer to the stage." WFPL reported that around 200 people attended. The U.S. Census Bureau says Pike County's population is 58,402

The Lexington Herald-Leader described the Appalachian Wireless Arena, which has a maximum capacity of 7,000, as "mostly empty" for the Bevin rally.

Bevin's campaign and Trump Jr. did not respond immediately to Newsweek's requests for comment.

Organizers have asked the audience to move out of the seats and closer to the stage ahead of Trump Jr/ Gov. Bevin event in Pikeville.
I think it's fair to say this is sparsely attended.

— Ryland Barton (@RylandKY) August 29, 2019

According to the Herald-Leader, Bevin, a 52-year-old businessman, won Pike County four years ago with 54.8% of the vote. However, in the 2019 Republican primary he lost Pike County and other Eastern Kentucky counties, though won the state overall.

The gubernatorial election takes place on November 5 this year. Bevin faces a difficult task in retaining his governorship. In Pike County, for example, he received fewer votes in the Republican primary than the prevailing Democratic candidate in their party's contest.

"The CEO of your state is up for election in about seven weeks…we opened up a plant today opening up 350 jobs in a place that needed it," Trump Jr. told the rally, WYMT reported.

"He is your chief marketing officer, he is your chief executive officer, he is selling Eastern Kentucky and bringing jobs here. He's the local extension of what my father is trying to do for the country.

"We need to make sure we have other people with that same mindset, again other people who don't need the job but want the job because they want to step up and fight for you."

Bevin tweeted after Trump Jr.'s visit: "Grateful to @DonaldJTrumpJr & @kimguilfoyle for the generosity of their time today as we celebrated all the great progress we are making in KY. McCreary, Perry, Pike and Kenton counties. More crowds & more money raised today than our opponent will see this month."

Sam Newton, a spokesperson for Andy Beshear, the Democratic candidate for Kentucky governor, said in a statement to WFPL: "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."

Donald Trump Jr Kimberley Guilfoyle rally Kentucky
Kimberly Guilfoyle (R) and Donald Trump Jr. arrive at a rally for US President Donald Trump, to officially launch the Trump 2020 campaign, at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019. Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle spoke at a poorly attended rally in Pikeville, Kentucy, on August 29 in support of Gov. Matt Bevin's re-election campaign. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images