Less than a week after being booed and prompting a “lock him up” chant at a World Series game in Washington, D.C., President Trump received another helping of public scorn after showing up at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. The contempt was not so unanimous this time, though the president’s attendance was also far less conspicuous. Trump entered the Manhattan stadium to a muddled mix of boos and cheers from the large crowd, but while he was acknowledged on the UFC’s pay-per-view broadcast, Trump was not shown on the big screen or announced at the Garden — which is what provoked the crowd’s reaction last week at Nationals Park. In addition, during Trump’s entrance, “the PA system in the stadium loudly cranked out rock and roll music, drowning out much of the crowd’s reaction,” according to USA Today.
In other videos, the response was more of a cacophony instead of just boos:
Trump had been invited to the event by UFC president Dana White, a longtime friend and supporter, and was accompanied by his adult sons and GOP House members Kevin McCarthy, Mark Meadows, and Peter King. In the president’s former life as a reality star and tabloid-obsessed real-estate developer, he had been a regular spectacle at pro-wrestling events, but aside from making history as the first sitting president to attend an MMA fight, Trump’s Saturday night was far more low-key.
After the booing videos went viral, Trumpworld tried to discredit any notion that the president was received poorly:
White also championed Trump’s early support for the UFC at a press conference after the event and claimed the president overruled the Secret Service so he could sit ringside — but White dodged a question about the downplaying of Trump’s attendance, per USA Today:
When asked if the decision to not show Trump on the video board was intentional to avoid a potential negative reaction from the crowd, White deflected and said he thought Trump’s entrance in the arena sufficed to honor the President. “Whoever you are … this is America,” White [said.] “You believe what you want. If you want to boo, you boo. If you don’t, you don’t.”
The event was also Trump’s first public appearance in New York City since he officially changed his residency to become America’s most notorious Florida Man. A group of mostly anti-Trump protesters welcomed his motorcade outside the Garden, holding signs with messages like “Headlock him up.”