Last month, Trump hosted a very low attended rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was just one sign that the president’s popularity is sinking as well as the continued threats of COVID-19.
Trump was set to host another rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, but the event was postponed due to “safety concerns” over a tropical storm approaching the Northeast on Friday afternoon.
However, fears over a low turnout may have likely been a stronger reason for the cancellation of the event according to people close to the campaign. Before the event was cancelled, there were already signs that the event would be sparsely attended.
There were no supporters camped out in advance for the best seats and even the Republican governor announced he would not attend it, and urged people to stay at home due to coronavirus fears. Then, the fears of hosting another lowly attended event along with tropical storm concerns fueled the final decision to nix the rally.
One outside adviser told ABC News that the tropical storm was a “convenient excuse” for the Trump 2020 team, especially since the coastal town isn’t expected to be hit directly. The person said:
‘It’s the perfect timing. The weather may have been dissuading people to attend, but many weren’t coming to begin with because of the virus.’
According to ABC News:
‘After an underwhelming crowd in Tulsa last month that left President Trump “furious,” according to those close to him, the campaign decided not to estimate any kind of rally attendance for the now-canceled Saturday event.’
The last time Trump campaigned in New Hampshire in February, he packed an arena of 11,000 people. This time, campaign staffers would not even estimate a crowd count.
My alternative headline: “‘Shrinkage!’ Trump blames declining poll numbers on recent dip in WH pool.”
Gallup: Trump’s job approval rating erodes among key groups https://t.co/lW2kxxaUxS
— William Chip Eveland (@DrChip97) July 6, 2020
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told NBC News:
‘With a tropical storm approaching, with the likelihood of lightning storms, holding an event in an airplane hangar on an airport tarmac could be extremely dangerous.’
The New Hampshire GOP state party was “scrambling all week trying to get people to attend” according to a prominent anti-Trump Republican.
Republican Governor Chris Sununu said:
‘I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people. As the governor, I try to be extra cautious for myself and my family.’
Sununu also encouraged elderly supporters aged 60 and over not to attend and to take precautions. He said:
‘To be in a large crowd gathering is a risk that that individual doesn’t need to take.’
Although New Hampshire has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases in recent months, local health officials have strongly advised against any type of mass gatherings during the pandemic.
The governor said he would meet Trump on the airport tarmac while wearing a mask but would not attend the rally himself.