The Atlantic reported in 2015 that Trump hired actors to support him in a campaign announcement:

Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement last month was widely mocked, not only for the rambling diatribe he used to launch the campaign but for the actors he paid $50 apiece to cheer for it.

The Washington Post concurred:

Trump's announcement, held on the lower level of the Trump Tower lobby, was framed by cheering crowds watching from the floors above. Some of the members of that crowd, it was soon reported, were apparently paid to be there.

Is this true?

  • 1
    are you asking if he did it more than once or more than zero times?
    – dandavis
    Aug 2, 2018 at 20:52
  • @dandavis - It appears that it was (no proof) done for the announcement of his candidacy. I want to know if it were ever done. Aug 2, 2018 at 21:01
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    I've also heard this claim for the launch event of the campaign, but not for anything later. Making this more specific would be helpful, especially as deciding what counts as a "rally" could get complicated.
    – Mad Scientist
    Aug 2, 2018 at 22:24
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    I've focussed the question on the notable claims presented. However, the Washington Post has references to support their claims. Any particular reason you weren't convinced by them, so we don't just repeat them?
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 2, 2018 at 22:27
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    @Oddthinking - I have a pretty good idea of how to evaluate scientific literature, but not news (The Hollywood Reporter? Is it a credible source? I don't know.) In searching, I've come across claims in somewhat reliable sources (not quackery) that could be taken to mean these reports were untrue. I'll reread the WP article to see what I've missed. Aug 2, 2018 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


According to a Federal Election Commission document:

We believe that the service at issue here — assembling a crowd of attendees for a candidacy announcement — provided a benefit to the Trump campaign [footnote 23]. It is not uncommon for campaigns to hire companies or casting agencies like Extra Mile to generate a crowd at an event. In this matter, the available information indicates that the Committee retained Gotham as an event consultant, and Gotham, in turn, subcontracted with Extra Mile to provide extra administrative support at Trump's announcement, including the provision of at least some of the rally crowd [footnote 24].

So, reviewing the evidence, the General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission considers that the claim is true.

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    Seems strange to me to even start to doubt this in the first place. To me, that is absolute standard practice, everywhere. But then, WP seems a bit misleading on describing a Claque. Whether TV-debates, election campaigns or any speaker event. Whether UK, Germany, US, Russia or France. Reality got unrealistic in these cases. Astroturfing, and a step up to Surkov. Aug 3, 2018 at 8:45
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    @LangLangC I don't know enough about US, UK, Russia or France, but I am sure you are mistaken at least about Germany. Paid guests are extremely rare at TV debates, election campaigns or other speaker events. If such payments became public, it would be a scandal. For example, in May 2018, a party paid some of its members to attend a rally. They were the butt of jokes for days. spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/… Aug 30, 2018 at 16:27
  • Paid attendees at campaign rallies is absolutely not practice in the United States. It was something unusual with Trump. Sep 21, 2020 at 21:26

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