By Paul Steinhauser | Fox News
Rally was going to be Trump’s second amid the coronavirus pandemic.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – A senior Trump reelection campaign adviser says he’s “hopeful” President Trump’s postponed New Hampshire rally will be held by mid-August.
The rally – which would have been the president’s second since the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation in March – was scheduled for Saturday, July 11. It was postponed a day earlier, with the Trump campaign and the White House citing concerns about a forecast tropical storm that ended up not impacting Portsmouth, where the rally was supposed to be held.
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At the time, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters the rally would be delayed by a week or two. And campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said the event would “be rescheduled and a new date will be announced soon.”
But senior campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski – in an appearance Thursday morning on the news-talk morning radio program “New Hampshire Today with Jack Heath” – acknowledged that “we don’t have a date.”
Lewandowski – a New Hampshire resident who managed Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign from its inception through the primary season – stressed that “we are committed to coming back to New Hampshire. That’s 1,000 percent. … I talk to the president a lot about it. He absolutely wants to be there. We’ve got to look at his travel schedule but I am very, very hopeful – it’s not my final decision – that we have the president here by mid-August.”
A long-range view of the Trump campaign’s site for a planned rally with the president at Portsmouth International Airport in New Hampshire. The rally was postponed due to severe weather concerns.
The Trump campaign senior adviser also mentioned that the rescheduled rally may not be held at the original site – outside on the tarmac at Pease International Airport in the state’s Seacoast region. “We are not necessarily wedded to Pease,” he said. Lewandowski listed the towns of Amherst or Milford (in the south-central part of the state) as possible replacements.
Ahead of the president’s first rally amid the coronavirus – held last month in Tulsa, Okla. – Trump and his campaign touted that they had received 1 million requests for tickets to the event. But the crowds never materialized, and large portions of the arena’s upper deck were empty as the president spoke.
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In the days after the Tulsa rally, the Trump campaign pushed back on suggestions that the president failed to draw a big enough crowd, noting that the event attracted over 4 million viewers “across all of the campaign’s digital media channels” and spotlighting that Fox News – which carried the event live – had the best Saturday night ratings in its history.
Trump campaign director of strategic communications Marc Lotter touted that the “Tulsa rally had 22 million people watching it.”
President Donald Trump arrives on stage to speak at a campaign rally at the BOK Center, Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In the days after announcing the New Hampshire rally, the Trump reelection team avoided making any crowd size forecasts.
But the president himself had no qualms making a prediction.
“We’re going to have a big crowd and we’re going to have a great crowd,” Trump declared on the eve of the scheduled rally in an appearance on the “New Hampshire Today” radio program, hours before the event was postponed.
While the campaign publicly said ticket requests were not an issue in the postponement of the rally, some people familiar with sign-ups for the event questioned whether they were on track to fill up the venue with supporters.
New Hampshire, which for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House, has also for a generation been an important battleground state in general elections.
Four years ago, Trump was edged out by fewer than 3,000 votes by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the state’s four electoral votes. Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.