Due to the COWID19 pandemic which swept the world and caused all public meetings to be suspended, the campaign which started in March had to be suspended. President Trump’s campaign resumed but did not start. The rally in Tulsa was to take place on Friday 19 June, the day that marks the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in America (the nineteenth of June). Trump had no choice but to move the rally to Saturday “out of respect for this holiday” and due to the intense outcry of black lives from the cause of the protesters, who are still very angry about the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police department officers. On top of that, President Trump gloated in a Wall Street Journal interview on Thursday that he had set his campaign date for June 19, which is one of the reasons why Juneteenth was really popular.
President Trump hinted that the low turnout for his rally in Tulsa could be linked to “fake news” and how it could discourage attendance at his rally and create a false impression of him and his campaign. In addition, he said that “we have some bad people outside, they have done some very bad things”. This was a direct indication that his supporters were restricted in their access to the campaign venue. He assured his supporters attending the rally that “those who are silent on board with Trump are always stronger”.
The strengths of President Trump’s campaign speech are: how much he has saved from spending cuts, managing the economy despite the COWID pandemic,19 appointing conservative judges, trade relations with China and restructuring the US military. These are all points in which Trump built his campaign speech for re-election and spoke consistently across the country until the pandemic took the world by storm and led to the suspension of public meetings. He highlighted the fact that he had managed to cope with what he called the “China virus”. He also highlighted the fact that the country was close to a critical oil price crisis, but he saved the situation. In his words, “he reached out to the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia and made sure that our energy sector returned to around $40 a barrel”.
President Trump paid particular attention to the coronavirus and how it has done a great job in getting a significant amount of testing done. He also mentioned the fact that health officials need to slow down the rate of testing as it clearly indicates that “when you test to that extent, you will find more cases”. To summarise, he mimicked a health official conducting a patient examination: ‘If you have snot, that’s a case! President Trump said.
After a detailed analysis of the above, President Trump delved into the protests over black lives that began after various incidents of unarmed black people being killed by police officers. He described the protesters as “anarchists” and expressed his disappointment with the media for giving so much attention to his campaign and the health risks associated with it. He also said that the media was turning a blind eye to the health risks associated with the protests, which had greater risks than his campaigns. Although many health workers have made it clear that the virus spreads easily in crowded places under a roof rather than outdoors.
President Trump has employed numerous face-saving methods as his poll numbers have steadily declined over the weeks, numerous negative press responses and a host of others. These methods included spending time trying to explain his situation at West Point Military Academy, where he had difficulty getting down the ramp after giving his graduation speech. In his defence, he said his dress shoes were slippery and the ramp was like an ice rink. “I can’t fall down watching all the fake news,” was what he told the general, who helped him down the ramp.
He also addressed the fact that people were declaring him unfit to speak again as President of the United States. He mentioned the problem of his inability to successfully lift a bottle of water to his mouth during his speech. In his defence, he said that he had saluted quite a few cadets up to that point, and this activity had taken a toll on his arm. All these explanations and attempts to clear the air took a total of about 20 minutes of his speech.
President Trump also stressed that he does not have any illness that would make him unfit to be President of the United States. He also specifically condemned reports and rumours that he suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He claimed that he is very healthy and capable of running for President, but highlighted the fact that his rival (Joe Biden) is not healthy enough to run for President. He used this opportunity to portray Joe Biden as a “puppet”. “Joe Biden is a shameless hypocrite,” President Trump said. He is a hypocrite because he praises past senators who have been the main proponents of segregation in America. He concluded by saying: “America should not be lectured on racial justice by Joe Biden – sleepy Joe.”
The campaign initially received numerous warnings that holding a rally during a pandemic was a bad idea. Putting people in a room could increase the spread of the coronavirus and suspending it should be the best play. Despite all the warnings and health concerns, plans to hold a rally on Saturday remain. Brad Parscale, who is Trump’s campaign manager, said on Twitter that more than 1 million people had requested tickets for the campaign, even though those who indicated they wanted to campaign were asked to sign an electronic disclaimer. This was a form of acknowledgement that they were at risk of being infected with the coronavirus.
It was reported that prior to the planned campaign date, Trump’s staff had hoped for a successful campaign and that having a large crowd could indeed boost the president’s morale after facing declining poll numbers and the many economic setbacks associated with the pandemic. Unfortunately, the crowd did not live up to expectations. An open-air stage was built so that the President could speak outside the KBC centre, but the deserted atmosphere in the KBC centre led to the cancellation of their plans to hold another rally outside.