Trump Fired A Guy Because The Crowd For His Speech Wasn’t Big Enough

Bloomberg is reporting that Donald Trump fired a long time political adviser because the size of the crowd at his Phoenix rally wasn’t big enough:

Donald Trump was in a bad mood before he emerged for a confrontational speech in Arizona last week.

TV and social media coverage showed that the site of his campaign rally, the Phoenix Convention Center, was less than full. Backstage, waiting in a room with a television monitor, Trump was displeased, one person familiar with the incident said: TV optics and crowd sizes are extremely important to the president.

As his surrogates warmed up the audience, the expanse of shiny concrete eventually filled in with cheering Trump fans. But it was too late for a longtime Trump aide, George Gigicos, the former White House director of advance who had organized the event as a contractor to the Republican National Committee. Trump later had his top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he’d never manage a Trump rally again, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Gigicos, one of the four longest-serving political aides to the president, declined to comment.


Gigicos had staged the event in a large multipurpose room. The main floor space was bisected by a dividing wall, leaving part of the space empty. There were some bleachers off to the side, but otherwise the audience was standing — and the scene appeared flat, lacking the energy and enthusiasm of other rallies.

Although the crowd looked thin when Trump arrived at about 6:30 p.m., rallygoers filled in the space while Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Alveda King, Franklin Graham and Pence delivered introductory speeches. A city of Phoenix spokeswoman told the Arizona Republic newspaper that about 10,000 people were inside the room when Trump took the stage.

Trump’s first words when he stepped to the microphone: “Wow, what a crowd, what a crowd.”

Some Trump advisers hope that the president’s anger with Gigicos, a loyal and trusted aide who is well liked at the White House, blows over and he’s brought back into the fold. A week later, Trump was still reminiscing about the Phoenix event.

“You saw the massive crowd we had,” he said at a White House news conference on Monday with Finland President Sauli Niinisto. “The people went crazy when I said, ‘What do you think of sheriff Joe?’ Or something to that effect.”

Gigicos organized all of Trump’s signature campaign events and his occasional rallies since entering office. He left his White House job as director of advance on July 31 to return to his consulting business. But he continued to work for Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Over the past two years, Trump had often assigned the blame — rightly or wrongly — to Gigicos when his rally logistics weren’t perfect. But his irritation usually blew over quickly. When his microphone had problems at a rally in Pensacola, Florida, in January 2016, Trump bellowed: “The stupid mic keeps popping! Do you hear that, George? Don’t pay them! Don’t pay them!”

Talk about having a thin skin.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. JohnMcC says:

    Perhaps this is the DJT that always existed behind the scenes. But somehow I think we’d have known. Alternatively this sort of behavior is a reaction to the isolation and stress he’s under. If that is so, two thoughts: First, GOOD! Stress the hell out of him! Second, we will see more and more of his pettiness and vengefulness.

  2. Jay Gischer says:

    Sigh. It is the Trump that always existed behind the scenes, and we did know. At least, some of us knew.

    The Apprentice was so locked down with NDAs that this sort of thing didn’t leak out more. And I’m sure Trump’s litigiousness had something to do with the lack of leaks, as well.

    And yet, we heard stories. At least, some of us in some of the media silos did.

    At the same time, I think the pressure is probably getting to him. If he can’t take the pressure, he should resign. GWB was under similar pressure, and he didn’t pull stuff like this.

  3. Kylopod says:

    It’s stuff like this that merely adds to the question I’ve had for a while: why would anyone want to work for him at this point? You have to be some kind of masochist. You lose every last shred of dignity you may have once had, you set yourself up to be publicly humiliated, and you’re in great danger of having him throw you the wolves at any time, which usually happens when he wants a scapegoat for his own incompetence, because as we all know nothing is ever Trump’s fault. Look at the way he turned Priebus into his butt-boy, or his attacks and threats against Jeff Sessions, or that cringe-worthy recent line from Elaine Chao “I stand by my man–both of them” after he publicly lashed out at her husband. To call him a Boss from Hell would almost be too kind. He’s more Boss from the Land of Eternal Stench.

  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Worse than just a small crowd, at the beginning, that then filled in…from the WaPo;

    But as the night dragged on, many in the crowd lost interest in what the president was saying. Hundreds left early, while others plopped down on the ground, scrolled through their social media feeds or started up a conversation with their neighbors. After waiting for hours in 107-degree heat to get into the rally hall — where their water bottles were confiscated by security — people were tired and dehydrated and the president just wasn’t keeping their attention. Although Trump has long been the master of reading the mood of a room and quickly adjusting his message to satisfy as many of his fans as possible, his rage seemed to cloud his senses.

    Today he is in Texas…I can’t wait to see how he fvcks this up…

  5. KM says:

    Because they think it will be different for them. They tell themselves it won’t be that bad, the previous guy just didn’t have what it takes, the money and fame will be worth it, I’m skilled enough to make lemonade out of piss-water, etc….. you know, all the lies one tells oneself to keep your psyche together and not admit you’ve made a horrible, horrible mistake.

    It takes self-awareness and humbleness to admit you’ve ruined or are about to ruin your life. That’s why Step 1 for recovering addicts is admitting you have a problem – it’s surprisingly hard to do for many. These jobs are normally the top of the heap and things you’ve worked your whole career for. To turn down such a prestigious job can be galling; to tell the President no (even this dumpster fire of one) is not something that helps your career. I Coulda Been a Contender is strong with many of these wannabes.

    They do it because they’re deluded enough to think this time, it will be different. Because it’s *them*. Because it *has* to be. And we all watch another fool bite the dust and yet another line up to take up the space.

  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago:

    At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). … For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin.

    However, who would dare to be the first to stop? … After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on – six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly – but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?

    The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter…

    Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!

    The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel. That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:

    “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.”

  7. CSK says:


    Those of us in the northeast have known exactly what Trump is for almost 40 years: a crude, stupid buffoon/charlatan and failed social climber with zero ethics, zero morality, and an advanced case of malignant narcissism.

  8. Jen says:

    He said something about the size of the crowd and the turnout at his appearance in Texas today, apparently. Has anyone here ever known someone who is this insecure? I mean, in person? I find it so very strange.

  9. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: In the words of Shrek, “Do you think that maybe he’s compensating for something?”

  10. rachel says:

    @Kylopod: I think he has very little to compensate for.

  11. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Only fired?

    He could have been shot, court-martialed and sent to the Russian Afghanistan-front.

    After all, that is what a good nationalist would do.