President Donald Trump is eager to get back to holding campaign rallies in-person, his aides told Politico. Specifically, some Trump aides stated the president is bored and frustrated with being largely confined to the White House and wants to be among his supporters.
Trump’s rallies have been a key part of his brand since he began his campaign and have continued into his presidency. Surrounded by enthusiastic supporters, he relishes the opportunity to deliver his message to a receptive audience.
However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the president has gone months without holding a campaign rally. His last rallies were in late February, when he held three rallies in as many days. Since then, he’s been effectively confined to Washington, although he’s been able to make a few trips, like when he visited a mask factory.
During this time, Democrats have been using the internet to connect with voters, training supporters and courting votes via online sessions, nightly live streams, and the like. Trump, however, has eschewed that method.
The physical separation between himself and his base is starting to wear on him, the unidentified White House aides claimed. He gets bored and frustrated being cooped up and he needs to get back into the swing of things by connecting with voters in person.
“He enjoys talking to his supporters at these patriotic events, and so the more he’s out there doing that, the better mood he’s going to be in. That’s important in a presidential year,” Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign, said.
How and when those rallies will resume remains unclear, as of this writing.
For the immediate future — which is to say, through the end of May — the Trump campaign is looking to take a page out of the Democrats’ book and campaign virtually. However, the team hopes to get the president to the voters in-person sooner rather than later.
They are reportedly keeping a close eye on the states’ reopening timelines, specifically looking for when they will allow large gatherings. From there, the Trump campaign could hold “modified” activities, although what those would entail remains unclear.
“The goal is to get as close to a traditional Trump event as possible as we’re entering the warmer months here without having to change too much,” Miller said.
The plan is not without its potential pitfalls.
For example, weeks of planning are required to pull off a campaign rally and those plans can be upended on a moment’s notice, should coronavirus cases surge in an area where the Trump team has a rally planned. Similarly, holding a campaign rally and crowding thousands of people into a building could make for bad visuals, particularly in places where the coronavirus has taken a harsh toll.