According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump's re-election campaign is being hampered by its inability to resurrect what is believed to have been the most important tool that helped propel him into the White House in 2016 -- his rallies that injected excitement into his candidacy.
With the coronavirus pandemic wiping out large-scale rallies around the country -- particularly in battleground states needed by the president if he has any hope of staving off presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden -- one Republican said the president's hands are tied when it comes to salvaging his faltering campaign.
According to the report, in 2016 Trump created a frenzy with his rallies with Jon Stainbrook, the former GOP chair in Lucas County, Ohio, saying it was like the second coming of the "messiah."
“You saw the groundswell, and you thought, wow, this guy—something is here. It’s almost like in music, when you see somebody singing a song, or you see an actor, and you’re, like, wow, this guy’s got it. Well, this guy had it,” he explained before adding, “They were waiting for the messiah to come. And it was Trump.”
Now the president is forced to do small-scale visits to states, like one planned for battleground North Carolina on Monday, devoid of big crowds and excitement.
"Trump is no longer a novelty but an incumbent running for reelection, his approval ratings are a shade above 40 percent, he’s trailing the 77-year-old Democratic warhorse Biden by double digits in polls, and the gap seems to be widening," the report states with Ohio's Stainbrook explaining "The face-to-face, in-person rally is really what got him elected."
“So how does he make up for the fact that he’s so good live, so good at these rallies, but now he’s—I don’t want to use the word crippled—what’s the word I’m looking for?—he’s at a disadvantage," he elaborated. "He’s at a disadvantage where he cannot have these because of Covid. So it definitely is going to hinder parts of the campaign. See, now I sound like a treasonous asshole, but … it’s the truth.”
According to former Jeb Bush adviser Michael Steel, Trump has the added disadvantage of not being able to go out and pump up his record now that he is the incumbent.
“The president is an incumbent president and it’s always different being an incumbent president. You have a record, you can’t just run against everything," he explained before adding the president is also being dogged by his record on handling the pandemic where Steel admitted the president is clearly "failing."
Asked about the president's rally-less campaign, Ohio Republican Stainbrook was blunt about Trump's chances stating, "It ties his hands."
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