President Donald Trump was roaring to get back on the campaign trail last month when he hosted what was expected to be a boisterous comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But after a poor showing that many blamed on ongoing concerns over COVID-19, the president has confirmed that he’s reversing course.
According to a report from Newsmax, Trump announced on a Friday call with supporters from Wisconsin that going forward, his campaign rallies will be held by telephone.
The surprising change of heart came as part of a 22-minute monologue Trump gave during his call Friday, according to the Daily Mail.
“I wanted to be with you, and this is really replacing our rallies that we all love so much,” Trump said, according to Newsmax.
“We had great rallies in Wisconsin and all over the country, and unfortunately until this gets solved, and we’re doing really well with the therapeutics and vaccines, but until that gets solved it’s going to be tough to have those big massive rallies,” the president added, apparently referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump had previously said he would hold a rally outdoors in New Hampshire after the flop in Tulsa, but weather prevented the event from occurring as planned on July 11, as The New York Times reported.
Instead, Trump is now taking to the telephone.
“I’m doing telephonic rallies, and we’ll call them the Trump Rallies, but we’ll do it by telephone and we have a lot of people on the line and I appreciate it,” Trump said on his Friday call, according to Newsmax.
Trump also touched Friday on the pandemic itself, which he again blamed on China before lauding his own administration’s response to the outbreak in the U.S., the Daily Mail reported.
“We’ve done a great job, gotten very little credit for it,” he said on the call, according to Newsmax. “They’ve given credit to other people, we’ve, who frankly had much less to do with it than we did.”
Cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. have now topped 3.7 million, according to The New York Times, and at least 140,000 Americans have died. With this in mind, it’s been hard enough for Trump to find a state willing to open up a large venue for one of his rallies, let alone to actually fill the seats.
As Newsmax noted, Trump hasn’t promised that he’ll never again hold a live rally, and if the opportunity presented itself, it’d be hard to imagine the president turning it down. But until the pandemic is no longer a concern in the U.S., it looks like telephone rallies it is.