Following a decision Friday to postpone a campaign rally in New Hampshire due to a tropical storm, the Trump campaign is facing a storm of quite a different kind – that of Twitter users who are trolling the decision as a tactical move to avoid the low attendance that marred Trump’s rally in Tulsa last month.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Friday the event would be delayed for “a week or two” due to a “big storm” — but that storm was not slated to hit New Hampshire according to earlier predictions from the National Weather Service that mentioned the chance of showers early in the day, that would clear by the time of Trump’s evening event.
“Cloudy with a chance of a puny crowd” Washington Post opinion columnist, Jennifer Rubin tweeted on Friday, echoing the suspicions of others who have suggested that the event was cancelled in a last ditch effort to save face in case turnout was low as it had been at Trump’s first in-person, mask-optional rally last month – his first since the coronavirus pandemic made landfall in the United States.
On that occasion, roughly 6,200 of the 19,000-seat arena were filled, after Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale had bragged that the rally had fielded requests for close to a million tickets.
A contributing columnist to The Post and adviser to the Lincoln Project, George Conway, also tweeted a screenshot shortly after the announcement was made showing the hourly weather forecast for Portsmouth on Saturday evening – between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., the forecast showed no genuine threat of rain. The event was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m.
Here’s the weather forecast for Portsmouth, New Hampshire for tomorrow evening. pic.twitter.com/rK307qGCfx
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) July 10, 2020
Vox political editor, Aaron Rupar, suggested that the White House’s cries about bad weather in Portsmouth were “a pretext that Trump’s team were using “avoid another Tulsa-style disaster.”
Others, including cofounder of a super-PAC called the Democratic Coalition Against Trutmp said there was “no rain in sight.”
Trump’s staff said they canceled his NH rally due to weather, but there is no rain in sight. We all know they actually canceled because no one was gonna show. #BidenPledgesAllegianceToUS
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 11, 2020
Greg Sargent opinion columnist for The Post’s blog “The Plum Line” said it was fitting that Trump would cancel the event amid attendance concerns.
“The original Big Lie of the Trump presidency was his lie about his inaugural crowd,” Sargent wrote, referring to qualms the president had about the media’s reporting of a smaller crowd than he claimed when he delivered his inaugural address in 2017. “So it’s fitting that Trump is now gripped by fear of low rally turnout amid his coronavirus fiasco.”
It seems there was also a lack of local interest in the rally in Portsmouth even before warnings of a storm along the east coast. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu told reporters on Tuesday that while he intended to greet the president personally as governor he was unlikely to attend the event.
Daniel Uhlfelder, a Florida lawyer, joked in a tweet that the New Hampshire event had been cancelled “due to a blue tsunami” — referring ostensibly to poll numbers which increasingly indicate that Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is favored over Trump in forecasts for the presidential election in November.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult survey earlier this month showed disapproval of the job Trump is doing as president on the rise. Nearly 6 in 10 voters gave the president negative marks as coronavirus outbreaks devastate, among others, states in the Sun Belt.
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