On Monday, MSNBC analyst Jonathan Lemire reported that President Donald Trump is finding himself unable to hold rallies in key states, even as he tries to resume normal campaign operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
"The first attempted reboot was going to be in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about three weeks ago and they billed that as this massive display of force," said Lemire. "They boasted of a million ticket requests, and turned out only 6,000 people showed, mostly out of fear of the coronavirus pandemic in an indoor arena, leaving the president staring at a sea of empty seats and him fuming."
"Campaign aides had a shakeup, trying to reimagine what rallies could look like," said Lemire. "There was discussion of having one in Alabama to support the president's favorite candidate in that race. And the next one was going to be Saturday night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire ... the reboot was going to be in an airline hangar, outdoors, thinking that would allay some concerns. They deliberately didn't talk up crowd sizes. They wanted it to be smaller, more manageable. The president wanted to get back on the road. He needed to be out there, as you say, to draw strength from crowds, energize the crowds, try out new attack lines on Joe Biden."
"I was traveling with the president on Friday to Florida, and as the plane touched down they said it was postponed because of, indeed, the forecast of a tropical storm in that area on Saturday," said Lemire. "It didn't rain on Saturday, as it turned out. It was ridiculous ... I reported earlier in the week there was, indeed, concerns among campaign staffers as to what kind of crowd they would draw but those worries mounted. We talked to local leaders in New Hampshire saying they were trying to get people to show up, they were trying to generate excitement for this rally. Sometimes Trump supporters show up hours early and camped out overnight, perhaps they would have been rained on. A bad weather forecast might dissuade people from doing that but there was no evidence of people camping out in Portsmouth and it ended up not raining."
"This is the latest bind the president and his team are now in," said Lemire. "It's hard for them to hold a rally anywhere anytime soon. To have a venue, it needed to meet two important criteria. It needs to be, most likely, a state where the coronavirus pandemic, which is surging throughout the country right now, is not rising ... [and] you need a state's governor to wave health care regulations in order to have a large rally. They're willing to do that. New Hampshire's governor, a Republican, a lot of other states with Democratic governors, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, they're not willing to do that. In short, the president is having a hard time having a rally in the places he needs to get most, he can't."