To my mind there's no more perfect encapsulation of the Trump presidency than the four years' worth of now-cliched photographs depicting the former president on stage at some convention center or arena, awkwardly clapping, or dancing, or dry-humping an American flag while a rapturous crowd of red-hatted MAGA fanatics cheers his every twitch and jiggle. In his heart of hearts (or, at least, in whatever bizarre paramecium equivalent he possesses), Trump is fundamentally a showman who craves attention and adulation above all else. I sincerely believe that if you asked him whether he'd prefer to be rich or famous, he'd have to stop and think about it at least for a while.
Which is all to say that he must be absolutely seething these days, given that his much ballyhooed "History Tour" with former Fox News host and alleged sex pest Bill O'Reilly ("it will be fun, fun, fun, for everyone who attends!" Trump promised) is reportedly not exactly drawing in the crowds the pair of aging bigoted skinbags had presumably been hoping for.
"There's still a lot of tickets open," a representative for Orlando's 20,000 person Amway Center told Politico on Friday. "We have concerts that are doing a lot better than this." A glance at the Ticketmaster page for the tour's first stop in Sunrise, Florida, shows huge portions of BB&T Center seating is still available for the Dec. 13 event.
Same goes for the stop in Orlando:
Both the Trump camp and O'Reilly vigorously rejected Politico's initial reports of slumping ticket sales, with Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington claiming, "The History Tour has already sold over $5 million of tickets, and the excitement and enthusiasm is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Come December, the sold out shows will be a memorable night for all."
O'Reilly, meanwhile, claimed $7 million in ticket sales, and threatened to sue Politico's Daniel Lippman over the report. He then released a statement insisting the outlet was "trying to denigrate the Trump History Tour" as part of a massive campaign "coordinated by progressive organizations which have direct access to left-wing media."
While it's true that the tour's four stops are still months away and sales could, indeed, pick up as we draw closer to the event, consider this side-by-side comparison of the Trump program's seating at the Amway Center, and a Jimmy Buffet concert scheduled for the night before.
While Trump's power within the GOP is unquestionably still the major force animating conservative politics today, it's not hard to look at his slumping ticket sales and think that popularity notwithstanding, his shtick just might be getting a bit old. Or, at least, old enough to not be worth shelling out hundreds of dollars for.