President Donald Trump’s campaign has postponed his scheduled MAGA rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Saturday, citing the threat of bad weather from Tropical Storm Fay.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the rally, planned for an airplane hangar, would be delayed by a week or two due to the “big storm.” And campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh blamed “safety reasons because of Tropical Storm Fay.”
The president himself wrote on Twitter: “With Tropical Storm Fay heading towards the Great State of New Hampshire this weekend, we are forced to reschedule our Portsmouth, New Hampshire Rally at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease. Stay safe, we will be there soon! #MAGA2020.”
However, weather forecasts and other reports quickly cast doubt on whether the cancellation was prompted by the storm, with many suggesting Trump was merely trying to avoid another low-turnout embarrassment.
From the New York Times: Current weather forecasts for Portsmouth indicate that the rain is supposed to stop there around noon on Saturday; the rally was scheduled for 8 p.m. … It was not clear whether the New Hampshire rally was on track to fill up. Aides were adamant they’d fill the venue. But people familiar with the sign-ups said the interest in the rally was significantly lower than for rallies that took place before the coronavirus paused campaigning. … The postponement came as a spate of new polls show that Americans are being increasingly cautious about the coronavirus, as cases across the country, particularly in the South and West, have surged.
More from Mediaite: According to weather.com, the chance of rain does not exceed 25 percent anytime after 12 noon in Portsmouth, NH on Saturday. The rally was slated to take place in the evening. New Hampshire TV station WMUR notes that Tropical Storm Fay is on track to go west of the Granite State, with Vermont on track to get hit harder by the system. … Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi noted that President Trump has previously held rallies in rain and snow — including in New Hampshire.
The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the the Trump campaign has been fretting for weeks about whether he could draw a large crowd in New Hampshire — or, if not, whether they could make the rally look full.
“The danger, all agreed, was a repeat of Trump’s disastrous last rally, three weeks ago in Tulsa, Okla., where TV cameras showed two-thirds of the indoor arena as a sea of empty blue seats, and the vast throngs predicted outside failed to materialize,” the LA Times reported. “Worse, health officials later said the president’s Tulsa rally ‘likely contributed’ to a sharp spike in coronavirus infections in the state, one of three dozen now battling a record increase in COVID 19 cases. On Friday, the White House abruptly pulled the plug on the planned New Hampshire rally, citing weather worries even though the forecast showed morning thunderstorms mostly clearing by the evening.”
More from Twitter below.