President Trump will hold his next campaign rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Saturday, July 11 — and this time, the rally will be outdoors. The trip also marks the president's first campaign rally in a political battleground and second mega-event since his hiatus from the trail due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president's reelection campaign announced Sunday that the rally will take place at Portsmouth International Airport at 8 p.m. ET.
According to a statement released by the Trump campaign, the outdoor event will feature "ample access to hand sanitizer" and all attendees "will be provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear.
"President Trump's record-setting accomplishments in record-setting time have improved the lives of all Americans. He rebuilt, restored and renewed our great nation once, and he'll do it again," said campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley in a statement. "We look forward to so many freedom-loving patriots coming to the rally and celebrating America, the greatest country in the history of the world."
There have been over 5,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire, and more than 380 deaths, according to the state's Department of Public Health. Nearly two-thirds of New Hampshire residents disapprove of Mr. Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a University of New Hampshire survey released last month.
In a survey of New Hampshire voters released last month, Mr. Trump trails Joe Biden. The presumptive Democratic nominee led the GOP incumbent 49% to 42% among registered voters, according to the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll.
Mr. Trump last visited the Granite State on February 10, which was the eve of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, for a crowded indoor rally in downtown Manchester. Mr. Trump's campaign packed the same SNHU arena in August 2019 for an indoor campaign rally, boasting thousands of attendees and hundreds of protesters.
But it was in 2011 that then-real estate mogul Donald Trump first dropped into Portsmouth International Airport in a Trump-emblazoned black helicopter to explore a GOP primary bid, after pushing false rumors that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Mr. Trump lost New Hampshire in 2016 by fewer than 3,000 votes, a slim 0.4% margin of votes cast.
The upcoming rally, just a few short miles from the Maine border, is expected to also draw supporters from the neighboring state. In 2016, Mr. Trump won Maine's 2nd congressional district, making him the first Republican to score Maine electoral votes since George H. W. Bush in 1988.
The president's joint field operation with the Republican National Committee has resumed in-person organizing in New Hampshire, including door-knocking, on June 15. Under CDC guidelines, organizers employ hand sanitizer and temperature checks while hosting statewide in-person events.
Mr. Trump began two weeks ago holding in-person rallies again, with a kick-off relaunch at the indoor BOK Center arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At least eight campaign advance staff tested positive for coronavirus while preparing for the president's event.
The Portsmouth rally will be Mr. Trump's first campaign outdoors campaign rally in 2020.
Republican candidate for New Hampshire's 1st congressional district, Matt Mowers, a 2016 Trump campaign official endorsed by the president, told CBS News he is excited to welcome the president back. "This trip shows how important winning this district and New Hampshire is to the president."
The Republican mayor of the Democratic-leaning city of Portsmouth, Rick Becksted, said he learned of the rally Sunday evening while watching the news and receiving email inquiries.
New Hampshire Democratic chair Ray Buckley criticized Mr. Trump for coming into the city.
"Trump's response to the COVID-19 crisis has been chaotic and woefully inadequate, resulting in thousands of Granite Staters contracting the virus and hundreds of lives lost, while causing significant damage to our state's economy," Buckley wrote in a statement to CBS News. "Instead of helping our state safely recover, Trump is flying in for a political rally that will only further highlight the chaos he has caused."