After all, he’s done countless rallies during flu season before…
Yet, according to his official campaign events page, he has no upcoming rallies on his schedule right now. For the first time in…forever?
Trump’s made a rather clever practice of holding big rallies in swing states on the eve of key primaries there. If only to take the spotlight off of Democratic candidates. And there’s a crucial primary in Michigan tomorrow.
So the President’s breaking a pattern, which he doesn’t normally do, especially if he thinks something’s working for him. Perhaps in order to compensate for that, he made a point of shaking the hands of a couple of dozen supporters in Florida this morning.
Which means the Coronavirus may be the President’s most personal crisis yet. Trump is probably the nation’s best-known germaphobe, yet his rallies are the #1 evidence of his support and success. So he’s got to be torn.
We still remember during his first Presidential campaign where he’d never venture anywhere he couldn’t get back to Trump Tower the same night, or at least some other Trump property. He’s gotten a little better about that since (at first reluctantly) moving into the White House, but he still seems inclined to take refuge in the familiar (which we all do, but he does to a much greater extent). Still, the President vowed over the weekend that: “we will have tremendous rallies“. Just apparently not right now.
And one of the reasons Trump has always liked rallies so much is they allow him to reach many people without physically touching them (as most conventional politicians like to do). He can pull up in a plane, make his speech, walk back to the plane, and fly out without coming into actual contact with very many people. And that’s under normal circumstances.
So what’s he to do now?
The risk is not so much to Trump himself, but in the possibility a pocket of Coronavirus cases might trace back to a rally crowd, which would undoubtedly prove disastrous.
Especially with what Trump seems to be signaling will be his central Coronavirus message: that even if numbers of people infected and dying start going up as testing finally becomes at least somewhat available, the U.S.’ numbers, “his” numbers, are still “better” than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. And he may be successful ultimately in pulling that off, and he certainly seems to think he will be. But not if “his” people start getting sick.
Let’s “do” another of today’s Tweets before we go:
But what about Trump’s boasts in the past that he could just call up the King of Saudi Arabia and ask him for a favor and he’d do it just because he likes Trump so much and they’re such good friends? In fact, about a year ago he claimed he’d successfully done just that.
So if Trump truly believes this Tweet (and he’s partly right: a seemingly very ill-timed oil price war is almost certainly a factor in the market plunge—it’s not a “crash”—today), isn’t it about time the President makes one of those magical phone calls? “Stop tanking the markets, pal.” And the Saudis would, right?