Donald Trump just isn’t getting the same huge crowds he’s used to at campaign stops. He was mocked on Twitter as photo showed that just a handful of people attended his mini-rally in Tampa, FL.
Coronavirus fears, unpopularity or both? That’s got to be the question for President Donald Trump‘s campaign staff as he’s failing to draw crowds at campaign outings. At his most recent stop in Tampa, FL on July 31, his team had well over a dozen lines for spectators cordoned off so that crowds in the thousands could watch Trump deplane from Air Force One and give a speech on the tarmac. But photos showed that only a few rows of supporters were there to greet the president for his campaign stop in the Sunshine State.
A loudspeaker announcement said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we do ask that you maintain social distance during this event. There’s plenty of space for everyone,” CNN’s DJ Judd reported. The second part was certainly true, as there were rows and rows of empty space cordoned off with no people among them. While there was room for thousands of supporters, only a few hundred attended Trump’s rally.
For those that did attend, many did not wear masks to prevent against the transmission of COVID-19. They were mainly clustered together in the front rows to get a close up view of the president and not socially distancing. Trump spoke about his “law and order” campaign theme, while flanked by local sheriff’s officials. As usual, Trump did not wear a mask at any point from the time he arrived on AF1 until he departed.
Florida has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19, as the state’s Governor Ron DeSantis has not handed down official mandates about wearing masks in public as others states governors have done, though municipalities have been able to put them into effect. Florida restaurants, beaches, bars and other public places also reopened far ahead of many other states during the pandemic. As of the time of the president’s speech, Florida had over 470,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 6,800 deaths.
FL House District 49 Rep. Carlos G. Smith took to Twitter and pointed out, “Trump NOT socially distancing OR wearing a mask OR setting a good example in Tampa. Today, Florida reported our WORST daily death count with 257 Floridians dead from the virus. Trump IS giving a campaign speech. Tampa also has a mask mandate.” User @tomaskenn tweeted the photo of Trump’s miniscule crowd and wrote, “This is the actual crowd size for the Trump rally in Florida today. A pathetically small crowd and they could still not have them socially distance in the fourth consecutive record day of deaths in the state.”
Trump’s rally comes one day after the death of former Republican presidential candidate and party conservative Herman Cain, 74, after he was hospitalized for COVID-19 complications in early July. He tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a June 20 Trump rally in Tulsa, OK without a mask, though it is unclear if he actually caught the virus at the event. That rally also had a greatly diminished crowd size. The BOK Center holds 19,200 people, but Trump’s attendance was estimated at around just 6,200 fans, with the outdoor overflow viewing stages dismantled due to the lack of supporters present.