by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump is eager to press on with plans to reschedule his postponed appearance in New Hampshire, possibly by the end of next week, even as aides wonder whether they should scale back rallies to better focus media attention on Joe Biden.
Advisers are divided on whether smaller-scale events, such as factory visits and mini town halls, would help avoid questions about COVID-19 and the president’s performance as he dominates coverage.
“He loves the rally. I get it,” said a source close to the campaign and familiar with the internal debate. “They are fun, and he gets things off his chest, but at the end of the day, the negatives for now outweigh the positives, at least until after the conventions.”
For weeks, advisers have been warning Trump that, if he is to win, he must make November’s election all about Biden and his long record in Washington. But that has been undermined by a president inclined to react to every attack or slight and by his approach, focused on raucous rallies.
Trump was due to appear before supporters at a New Hampshire airfield last Saturday in an event that officials hoped would serve as a blueprint for coronavirus-safe rallies following the disappointing turnout in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
However, it was postponed as Tropical Storm Fay rolled along the Northeastern seaboard. Reports quickly surfaced that officials were worried about a poor turnout.
At the time, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the rally would be held within a couple of weeks. So far, the campaign website lists no future in-person events for the president.
Local party officials say they are now on standby to reschedule the rally as soon as the White House can slot it into the president’s schedule.