Large-scale election year campaign rallies have not taken place since early March, when the coronavirus was just beginning to wreak havoc across the country. President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign is hoping to change that.
The campaign says that it plans on holding the first of the rallies before the end of this month, opening the door to thousands of the president's supporters congregating in the same space even as some regions see a spike in coronavirus cases.
In an meeting with African-American leaders at the White House today, the president announced the states that will play host to his reelection rallies this summer starting with Tulsa, Okla., on June 19. Trump then said more rallies will be held in Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida.
"We know the president is very eager to get back out and begin to hold these rallies again and it will show the excitement in his campaign," Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director, told Fox News.
With less than five months till election day, the president wants to put the pandemic behind his administration and project a sense of restored normalcy as the summer wears on. Holding rallies is one way he will do that, amplifying the message that America is reopen again with the hopes of a swift economic recovery.
Murtaugh offered few details on what the health and safety procedures will be for any attendees when he spoke to Fox News Digital, noting they're contingent on the venues and states in which they'll be held.
A core of Trump's voting base are senior citizens who usually come out in droves to see Trump speak, but they're also in the high-risk age group to contract COVID-19. Murtaugh says whether the rallies are held indoors or outdoors, they should be "suitably safe." No announcement has been made if rally-goers will be required to wear masks or if they will have their temperatures checked at the door.
“The CDC guidelines are still in place whether you’re going to a rally or to a supermarket, people who have underlying conditions are advised to be very careful," said Murtaugh.
Trump's campaign and the GOP have received pushback from other officials on another potential mass gathering event: the Republican National Convention (RNC). It will no longer be held in Charlotte, N.C., after the state's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, said a "full-scale" event was not going to work under the strain of virus health concerns.
The RNC has been conducting other site visits in recent weeks to find a new venue, Murtaugh said. Jacksonville, Fla., was floated as a possible "strong contender."
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told radio host Hugh Hewitt that Jacksonville was in "the frontrunning position" to host the event, but shes also said reports a location had been chosen were "premature."
Other cities being considered to host the event include Savannah, Ga., Nashville, Tenn., and Phoenix, Ariz. RNC officials are making a site visit to Dallas tomorrow as well.
“It’s still under consideration, I’m told people are still making site visits so I think it’s very premature to declare that one site has been chosen over another. ... My understanding is that determination has not yet been made and I think those reports should be considered premature," says Murtaugh.
Murtaugh did acknowledge that some party delegate business will still take place in Charlotte, but the celebration people usually get to see will be in another state.
"What we do know is that the convention and what people think of when they see a convention on television will not be occurring in Charlotte," he said. "We know that Governor Roy Cooper doesn't care to have the influx of tens of millions of dollars spent in economic activity in his state."