McEnany told reporters on Air Force One that the rally was postponed for a week or two due to the upcoming storms in the region. The rally was to take place outside in an aircraft hangar amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He later tweeted, “As Tropical Storm Fay is heading towards the state of New Hampshire this weekend, we have to postpone our rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at Portsmouth International Airport in Pease. Stay safe, we’ll be there soon! # MAGA2020. “
The worst tropical storm Fay will be through Portsmouth if the rally is to start on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. At this point, there is only about a 20% chance that the showers will stop.
That said, daytime conditions will not be good, with occasional heavy rains and gusty winds around 1
“The Saturday rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire has been postponed due to safety reasons due to Tropical Storm Fay. It will be postponed and a new date will be announced shortly,” said Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh in a statement.
A source familiar with the planning insisted that the delay was due to the weather.
Trump campaign officials have been in contact with the White House since this morning, reviewing a forecast warning of thunderstorms with lightning on Saturday morning.
While the sky is expected to clear when Trump takes the stage, officials have been concerned about the rally participants who queue up and would land on the tarmac in the morning, the source said. They decided that it would be a security problem if crowds lined up for the rally at risk of lightning.
Before the rescheduled rally on Saturday, White House consultant Kellyanne Conway seemed to downplay viewers’ expectations, claiming that “millions” of supporters stayed at home because they already supported Trump and didn’t have to see him personally in a pandemic.
“People will decide if they want to go. I think there are literally so many millions of Trump Pence voters who don’t want to go to rallies because they already support the president and do what they do.” can get other people to support the president, but they don’t want to go to rallies because they may be older or have some of the underlying comorbidities, “she said during a Friday appearance on Fox News.
The Portsmouth event was to be the first campaign event since Trump supporters gathered in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month. This event fell short of visitor expectations, but Tulsa’s health officials said that, like rallies around the rally, they were likely to have led to a significant increase in cases in the region.
Unlike Tulsa, the Portsmouth rally was largely to be held outdoors, and rallyers were “strongly encouraged” to wear facewear.
Plans for a rally in Alabama, which was tentatively scheduled for July 11 before the rally in New Hampshire was announced, were discarded after local officials spoke out against holding a large gathering as the number of cases increases in the state.
Republican governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, told reporters Tuesday that he was unlikely to attend the rally, but said he would greet the president on arrival and was confident that the rally was safe and sound can be held without a mandatory mask regulation.
“I’m not going to stand in the middle of thousands of people if that’s your question,” Sununu told reporters during a press conference on the state’s coronavirus response on Tuesday.
In an email announcing the rally on Saturday, the Trump campaign said there was “sufficient access” to hand sanitizers and face masks were made available and “highly recommended” to all participants. But it hadn’t indicated that they would require masks to be worn. People who attended Trump’s rally in Tulsa, including campaign manager Brad Parscale and communications director Murtaugh, wore masks.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day moving average in New Hampshire has been falling steadily since early May. The number of the state was generally low – just under 6,000 cases were reported and fewer than 400 people died from the virus there.
This story was updated with a statement from the Trump campaign and other details about the rally.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Kate Sullivan and Ryan Nobles contributed to this story.