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Trump and Bill O’Reilly ‘History Tour’ draws sparse crowd in Texas

Former President Donald Trump‘s and ex-FOX News host Bill O’Reilly’s ‘History Tour’ once again drew sparse crowds at the third stop of their tour in Houston on Saturday.

The event at the Toyota Center was delayed by nearly two hours due to stormy weather that apparently interfered with the former president’s flight to Texas.

It was supposed to start at 3pm local time, but at around 3.30pm, O’Reilly took the stage to explain that weather had delayed Trump’s appearance. 

Trump’s spokeswoman, Liz Harrington tweeted at around 4.14pm local time that the airport had finally reopened, and he finally took the stage at around 5pm.

But even when it was originally supposed to start, the Houston Chronicle reports, ‘there were still plenty of seats available,’ with video taken by Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo showing hundreds of empty seats as he panned around the stadium.

Tickets for the event – which reviews Trump’s one-term presidency and his 2024 intentions – ranged from $100 to over $300. 

Former President Donald Trump and ex-FOX News host Bill O’Reilly took to the stage at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday as part of O’Reilly’s History Tour

There were many empty seats as the event was supposed to begin at 3pm local time

There were many empty seats as the event was supposed to begin at 3pm local time

The small crowds in Texas comes after the tour sold just 62 percent of the tickets it expected to sell in Orlando, Florida.

According to city data obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, the tour sold just 5,406 tickets, despite earlier predictions of a sellout by organizers at an arena with a listed capacity of 8,700.

‘The listed capacity for the event of 8,700 didn’t include vast swaths of the upper bowl covered with a tarp before the event started… despite tickets for those seats being listed as available all the way until Sunday morning,’ the newspaper reported.

‘But when doors opened at noon, people who bought tickets to an upper bowl seat, including an Orlando Sentinel reporter, were told they had been upgraded to empty seats in the lower bowl,’ according to the Sentinel, which also reportedly happened at the first event in Sunrise, Florida.

The event on Saturday was delayed when stormy weather interfered with the former president's flight. He finally took the stage at around 5pm

The event on Saturday was delayed when stormy weather interfered with the former president’s flight. He finally took the stage at around 5pm

In total, the Sentinel reports, 6,201 people went through the turnstiles at the Amway Center on December 12. 

The Center usually has a listed capacity of between 12,500 to 17,000.

And when the former president spoke at the Center in 2019 to kick off his 2020 campaign, 19,792 people passed through the turnstiles.

Ticket prices for the event, meanwhile, plummeted on the morning of December 12 to as little as $40, after previously starting at $100 and rising into the thousands for VIP packages, which included floor seats, floor seats, a reception before the show, and photos with Trump and O’Reilly.

‘I guess it does show that there’s a limit to his popularity,’ Aubrey Jewett, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida, told the Sentinel. 

‘He’s still influential and still popular within the Republican Party. But a lot of his fans apparently were not willing to pay 100 bucks a crack to hear him talk for two hours.’

By the time the former president left office in 2020, his job approval rating was just 29 percent – the lowest in his presidency since he took office in 2017, when his approval rating was at 44 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. 

Trump discussed the COVID pandemic, his relations with foreign leaders and his 2024 intentions on the tour

Trump discussed the COVID pandemic, his relations with foreign leaders and his 2024 intentions on the tour

O’Reilly had previously threatened a lawsuit against Politico after it reported in July that the initial sales for the tour – which is billed as a ‘series of live conversations across the county’ between O’Reilly and the former president – were slow.

Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington told the outlet at the time: ‘Come December, the sold-out shows will be a memorable night for all.’

The History Tour is set to conclude in Dallas, Texas on Sunday. 

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