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The Trump campaign on Thursday launched a new mobile app for supporters that functions like a hybrid between a political news hub and an airline frequent flier program – as candidates scramble to find ways to connect with voters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The app is perfect for this unusual time because it lets people engage with the campaign from their couch, or wherever they are,” said Brad Parscale, Trump’s presidential campaign manager.
While the Trump campaign may not be able to host events where thousands of supporters gather in public because of the coronavirus pandemic, this new app gives the campaign a chance to gather the most valuable commodity to a campaign: voter e-mails and cell phone numbers.
According to the campaign, “rewards points” are given to users who convince contacts to download the app. Users accumulating the most points are eligible for a photograph with President Trump.
“Get a front row seat to our virtual events,” a Trump campaign digital advertisement promises.
Another reward for the most engaged users is expedited entry into events – although it’s unclear when public health concerns tied to COVID-19 will permit another one.
The last in-person Trump campaign rally was March 2 in North Carolina.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s last large campaign event was March 9 in Detroit, Michigan, and his last in-person press conference was March 12 in Wilmington, Del. The Biden campaign is relying heavily on “virtual fundraisers,” and other events staged from the former vice president’s rec room, via Zoom.
Large events in arenas are a hallmark of Trump’s campaign, but his closest advisers aren’t rushing him back onto the campaign trail.
“If he has a rally where people are physically distanced, and there aren't as many people sitting next to each other it’ll look a little bit like a Biden rally,” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway quipped Wednesday.
The app has been in development for at least seven months and was originally primarily designed for use at rallies.
The original thinking was for Trump rally-goers to check-in to a rally using their phone, the same way you can check-in for a flight. But now, in the COVID-19 era, the app is centered on connecting supporters to the campaign’s many virtual events and the “gamification” of voter outreach.
“It’s also been updated to highlight the virtual events we have going on, like our nightly online programming or coalitions events like Women for Trump, Black Voices for Trump, or Latinos for Trump,” Parscale said. “You can volunteer, make voter phone calls, register for events, and earn points for great prizes. It’s better than any political app made before.”
Fox News’ Kristin Fisher contributed to this report.