People wait for President Donald Trump to arrive at a campaign rally at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Friday Aug. 28, 2020 in Londonderry, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
WASHINGTON — Fresh off accepting the Republican Party’s nomination, President Donald Trump is looking to spread fear about the implications of a Joe Biden victory to voters in battleground states with just over two months until Election Day.
Trump is holding a rally in New Hampshire on Friday evening as he continues to flout coronavirus guidelines and launches an aggressive travel schedule heading into the fall campaign. In his convention finale a day earlier, Trump blasted Biden as a hapless career politician who will endanger Americans’ safety.
The 70-minute address from the South Lawn of the White House marked Trump’s attempt to frame the general election as a dire choice between two futures for the nation — a theme he was expected to amplify on the campaign trail.
“We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years,” Trump said Thursday, referring to the former senator and vice president’s career in Washington.
Trump departed the White House by motorcade Friday, requiring it to weave through District of Columbia streets packed with demonstrators participating in a commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The motorcade made it to Joint Base Andrews without incident. Isolated groups of protesters on street corners made their presence felt through gestures directed at the motorcade.
While the coronavirus kills 1,000 Americans each day, Trump defied his own administration’s pandemic guidelines on Thursday to speak for more than an hour to a tightly packed, largely mask-less crowd. In New Hampshire, a campaign advisory said masks for attendees are “required” in accordance with Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s executive orders, and would be provided.
Similar indoor-outdoor rallies at aircraft hangars in recent weeks have seen limited compliance with face covering mandates. The event format has become the Trump campaign’s go-to amid the pandemic.
Trump’s pace of travel is expected to pick up to a near-daily pace. Biden, who has largely weathered the pandemic from his Delaware home, announced Thursday that he will soon resume limited campaign travel.
Trump last attempted to visit New Hampshire six weeks ago, when he called off a trip on the eve of a scheduled campaign rally citing the threat from a tropical storm — but also as his campaign worried that attendance would be sparse amid a nationwide surge in virus cases.
That rally was to have been Trump’s first since his embarrassing return to the campaign trail in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June, where he spoke to a half-empty arena and an anticipated overflow crowd never materialized.
Trump calls Biden ‘destroyer of American greatness’ in Republican National Convention speech
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