According to some prominent news organization, President Donald Trump entered Madison Square Garden Saturday night to a chorus of boos, but is that what really happened?
“TRUMP GETS BOOS AT MSG FIGHT…” the conservative blog, the Drudge Report, wrote in a headline Sunday morning, linking to a story from The Hill that was headlined: “Trump gets deluge of boos upon entering MSG prior to UFC 244.”
Trump had popped in to midtown Manhattan to catch an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout. “President Trump was welcomed into Madison Square Garden Saturday night with heavy booing from the crowd,” wrote the inside-the-Beltway publication.
The story included a post on Twitter from Rob Taub, who identifies himself as a “NJ Devils Correspondent for The Fischler Report.” He told his 4,417 followers: “President Trump getting massively booed as he entered the Garden.”
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) November 3, 2019
But hang on. Another publication, this one based in New York City, said something completely different.
“More cheers than boos greet President Trump at UFC 244 at MSG,” wrote the New York Post.
“Trump stood up in his seat in the VIP section and waved to a crowd that mostly cheered — though there were also plenty of ‘boos’ and the occasional raised middle finger as well,” the paper wrote.
The president “had very vocal supporters inside and outside the World’s Most Famous arena,” the Post said.
“I’m here to support my president and just to say thank you President Trump,” said Karen Vraun, 59.
“No more terrorists!” and “Deport Omar!” supporters shouted, in a reference to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, as protesters brandished signs in both English and Spanish.
Tara LaRosa, who says on Twitter she is “ProMMA fighter 22-5 125lb Former #1 female fighter in the world NJ born & raised,” also said Trump received a a “positive reaction.”
— Tara LaRosa (@TaraLaRosa) November 3, 2019
Donald Trump Jr. saw her tweet.
“Thanks for speaking the truth @TaraLaRosa. The rest of blue checkmark twitter is #fakenews-ing the hellnout if that awesome welcome,” he wrote.
Thanks for speaking the truth @TaraLaRosa. The rest of blue checkmark twitter is #fakenews-ing the hellnout if that awesome welcome. https://t.co/aQyfXZZ1mX
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 3, 2019
#TrumpBooedAgain began trending quickly on Twitter. But Ariel Helwani, who says she is a “Journalist for @espn/ Host of ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,’ ” said there were “very little boos.”
“Trump just turned around to acknowledge the crowd and was met with noticeable cheers and very little boos,” she wrote.
Trump just turned around to acknowledge the crowd and was met with noticeable cheers and very little boos.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 3, 2019
The Hill pointed out that Trump was booed when he attended the World Series in Washington. “When Trump was recognized on the jumbotron, he was met with loud rejection and instead of cheers,” the publication wrote, apparently forgetting the word “boos.”
But boos in New York — the most liberal city in the country — and Washington, D.C., where just 6% of registered voters are Republican, are not necessarily surprising, either.
And Trump Jr. said the cheers outweighed the boos.
“Fake News gonna fake. Why don’t you play the video you leftist hacks? I was there in the heart of NYC and it was overwhelmingly positive. An awesome response. It’s nice that everyone at least sees that you’ve flat out stopped even pretending to be objective,” Trump Jr. wrote.
Fake News gonna fake. Why don’t you play the video you leftist hacks? I was there in the heart of NYC and it was overwhelmingly positive. An awesome response.
It’s nice that everyone at least sees that you’ve flat out stopped even pretending to be objective. https://t.co/uX1kKEAzOh
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 3, 2019
There were also protesters outside the Garden — but very few. The Hill story posted this tweet:
Protesters gathered outside Madison Square Garden, where President Donald Trump was set to attend UFC 244.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) November 3, 2019
But again, the New York Post knocked down the story.
“Some two dozen angry protesters armed with bright orange anti-Trump signs were stationed outside Madison Square Garden on Saturday night as President Trump arrived at the arena for UFC 244 — but there were twice as many fans happy to see the commander in chief,” wrote the paper.
Geoff Earle of The Daily Mail served as the “pool reporter” for the event, sending first-hand accounts back to all the reporters who did not attend the event. In one pool report, he wrote: “President Trump walked into MSG to a loud mix of cheers and boos.”
Earle also offered this account in one of his pool reports:
It didn’t take long after the president’s arrival for the stark violence of the sport to reveal itself. Lightweight Kevin Lee delivered a vicious left kick to rival Gregor Gillespie’s face during the first bout on the main card.
The fighter with a 13-1 UFC record immediately hit the deck, after Lee followed up with an additional glancing blow on his way down.
Pooler saw POTUS standing and looking on with an expression of concern after after the contact, which drew loud gasps from the audience. The fighter lay prostrate on the mat for about 30 seconds with his mouth agape after the knockout.
After Gillespie was revived and appeared to be okay, the president could be seen clapping in support. The crowd then got to witness the knockout on replay on MSG’s jumbo-tron. The crowd gasped even louder at the replay as the fighter’s face contorted on impact.