Donald Trump’s campaign team is pushing back against reports he paid actors to pose as supporters at his presidential campaign announcement on Tuesday.
Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski called Business Insider on Thursday to “unequivocally” deny the allegations.
“You know Donald Trump. There is nobody who believes that when Donald Trump goes somewhere he does not generate the biggest, largest, and most rambunctious crowds on the planet,” Lewandowski said. “It’s just not true, unequivocally. The Donald Trump campaign and Donald Trump did not pay anybody to attend his announcement.”
The accusation Trump paid actors to attend the event first surfaced in a Medium post by liberal activist Angelo Carusone on Tuesday. Afterwards, The Hollywood Reporter published an email that it said came from a casting company offering actors $US50 to attend the event.
Lewandowski used various words to describe The Hollywood Reporter story including “hyperbole,” “far-fetched,” and “crazy.”
“This story was probably placed by a Trump hater who was afraid that — now that he’s running for president they know that his straight talk about making America great again is scaring the Washington establishment,” Lewandowski said.
Business Insider attended Trump’s announcement on Tuesday and spoke to a handful of supporters who said they were not paid to attend. At the event, Trump boasted that the crowd included “thousands” of people. In our estimate, it was far smaller.
Following the announcement, Trump hit the campaign trail with appearances in early primary states. Lewandowski said these events have attracted very large crowds.
“When Donald Trump goes somewhere, he gets the biggest crowds, he gets the largest ovations,” Lewandowski said. “You can’t deny that.”