In a statement, Samantha Zager, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, said rallies are a chance for the public “to hear directly” from the president “about his vision for the country,” adding that the events “exemplify the palpable enthusiasm for our president.”
She added: “While Joe Biden takes five out of six days off leading into a debate, President Trump and his team are using rallies to energize the activist class, dominate local coverage for days, and collect data from new voters.”
Not all Republicans are convinced the rallies help the president that much.
Campaign officials insist Trump’s closing argument should focus on the president portraying himself as the best leader to rebuild the economy. Trump’s recent rallies have not stuck to that message. Instead, they lean heavily on the president’s own gripes toward Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the media, Democrats or the various investigations into his conduct as president. He often also downplays the coronavirus or disparages his own health officials.
“The problem with his rallies is he gets worked up and doesn’t confine his message,” said Ed Rollins, chair of the pro-Trump Great America PAC. “Beyond the immediate audience, the message that gets carried is usually the most outrageous thing he says.”
Trump is predictably undeterred by these concerns.
On a call with his own campaign staff earlier this week, Trump laid out his rally strategy. He told staffers he intended to do three rallies a day, with five on the final day of the campaign, spread over states like Arizona, New Mexico and Minnesota.
“They say that no human being could do that,” Trump said about the pace.
“Two weeks ago, I was in the hospital and people were shocked that I came out so fast and so healthy, because I came out, and within a day, I held a rally,” he added. “And when people come out of the hospital, they are supposed to be sitting in bed for a long time.”
Indeed, the rallies are intended to demonstrate Trump’s superior fitness after contracting Covid-19 just as much as they are meant to excite his supporters.
And the rallies offer the president his own form of soothing, along with a major ego boost in the middle of a tough campaign, said aides, advisers and allies. Trump feeds off the energy of a crowd regardless of whether the appearance makes the most political sense or can help him make gains against Biden in states like Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia.
“Trump thinks, ‘I have the rallies to prove that I am the greatest. No one can attract crowds like me,’” said Tony Schwartz, the author and Trump critic who ghost wrote “The Art of the Deal” and just published a memoir titled “Dealing with the Devil: My Mother, Trump and Me.” “It is like taking a shot of testosterone to pump himself up, particularly now.”