The White House announced Friday that President Donald Trump is delaying a campaign rally scheduled for Saturday night in New Hampshire because of weather concerns and that it would be held a week or two later.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Friday that there is a “big storm” expected in Portsmouth, N.H., where Trump was scheduled to hold the rally.
Trump came under criticism for holding a rally in Tulsa last month during the coronavirus pandemic, with critics arguing that the event could have helped spread the virus in the state.
Forecasts from the National Weather Service did not indicate a “big storm” in coastal New Hampshire. Tropical Storm Fay was forecast to sweep through the New York’s Hudson Valley and upstate region into Canada by Saturday afternoon, weakening to a depression.
The weather system was predicted to bring periodic showers to Portsmouth Friday night and Saturday, with the chance of rain falling to under 40 percent by 5 p.m. Saturday and below 20 percent by 8 p.m. Winds were only forecast to reach 10 to 15 mph on Saturday.
The rally was scheduled to be held in a hangar at Portsmouth International Airport. Trump’s rally last month in Tulsa was held in an indoor arena.
In a statement, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the rally was being postponed “for safety reasons because of Tropical Storm Fay.”
The president sounded enthusiastic about the rally just hours before it was postponed.
“We’re going to have a big crowd, and we’re going to have a great crowd,” Trump declared Friday morning in a radio interview on “New Hampshire Today with Jack Heath.”
The Trump campaign had said it would take several precautions at the rally in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including providing ample hand sanitizer and encouraging the use of face coverings.
Earlier this week, New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said he thought the rally could be pulled off safely but that he did not plan to attend.
“I’m going to go and greet the president as the governor,” he said. “I will not be in the crowd of thousands of people. I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people, if that’s your question specifically. I try to – unfortunately, you know, I have to be extra cautious as the governor. I try to be extra cautious for myself, my family.”
(c) 2020, The Washington Post · John Wagner, Jason Samenow