Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told “America’s Newsroom” that the interest in Trump’s first campaign rally since large gatherings were stopped by the coronavirus, shows “enthusiasm” for the president is “being underrepresented in these polls.”
“What it says is the enthusiasm for this president is through the roof,” McDaniel said on Monday. “It is higher than we've ever seen.”
“We saw it yesterday for his birthday when we raised $14 million online, now we’re seeing it with this rally, and that is something that is being underrepresented in these polls,” she continued.
McDaniel made the comments on Monday as presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden continues to lead Trump in most national polling, as well as in key battleground states. But Trump has sought to more aggressively head back out on the campaign trail amid the coronavirus pandemic, scheduling his first rally in months this coming weekend.
McDaniel had also referenced the fact that on Sunday, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign posted their largest online fundraising day ever, bringing in $14 million across three entities on the president's birthday — smashing their previous online fundraising record of $10 million on Oct. 19, 2016.
On Monday she said former Vice President Biden “does not have enthusiasm as he sits in his bunker and hides from the American public.”
“The second the president said, ‘I'm going to get out there,’ you see a massive request for people to come to this rally,” she continued.
Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted Sunday that the campaign has received a record number of requests for tickets to the Tulsa, Okla., event, which will be held indoors, at a 19,000-seat arena. But health experts, including the director of the Tulsa Health Department, question the decision, citing the danger of infection spreading among the crowd and sparking outbreaks when people return to their homes.
Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, told Tulsa World he wishes Trump would push back his Saturday campaign rally to a later date, citing concerns about a recent increase in local coronavirus cases. The Trump campaign itself acknowledges the risk in a waiver attendees must agree to that absolves them of any responsibility should people get sick.
Trump’s rallies typically draw tens of thousands of supporters. They usually stand outside in line for hours before passing through airport-style security and cramming into an arena, where they sit side by side or stand shoulder to shoulder.
Host Sandra Smith asked McDaniel on Monday if there are “any plans to reconsider considering we are talking about now an uptick in cases not just there, but nationwide?”
“The difference between how Republicans have been handling this [COVID-19] and Democrats is Democrats are saying, ‘We’re going to shut down our states, we’re not going to allow you to make decisions for yourself and your own health,’ and I think we’re far enough along now that people with underlying conditions are not going to go to a rally like this, people will bring masks if they feel like it’s necessary,” McDaniel said in response.
She noted that “the campaign has said they’re going to take health precautions,” adding that she thinks more information about those precautions will be revealed in the coming days.
McDaniel pointed out that “it is interesting to see how we weren't hearing about this” during protests last week over the death of George Floyd “when thousands upon thousands of people” gathered in cities across the country.
“You saw Democrat mayors and Democrat governors out there with these protesters, not talking about PPE [personal protective equipment], not talking about the health and safety, so it's funny that now that we’re having the Trump rally and we’re bringing people out to celebrate the nominee for their party, all of this scrutiny is coming up on this,” McDaniel said.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.