The Trump campaign official said the president’s frustration with the crowd size erased any positive feelings he might have had about simply being back in front of a crowd after a three-month hiatus from the campaign trail.
“It would be a huge blow to morale if something goes wrong and we get blamed again, but I don’t think that’s going to happen because we aren’t the ones in charge here,” the official said, noting that the campaign’s primary role is to select the lineup of speakers at the convention, which will run from Aug. 24-27.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has described the planning for Jacksonville as “a massive undertaking” since the party spent three years operating under the impression that its 2020 convention would occur in Charlotte — not six hours south in a different state. A person involved with the host committee said the team has been meeting multiple times a week — sometimes up to 12 hours a day – and is on track to ensure the convention is “a healthy, safe and exciting event.”
The convention is set to take place just one month before Trump and Biden will square off in the first of three general election debates, and it comes as the president currently struggles to revamp his 2020 message and recover lost ground in swing-state polls.
In Florida, Biden holds a 6.2 percentage-point lead over the president, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average — up four points from the lead former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton held at this point in 2016 before she lost the state to Trump in November.
Both candidates are expected to use their party’s nominating conventions as launchpads for the general election contest, which has been overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest caused by the police-involved death of George Floyd.
For Trump in particular, aides hope the convention will provide a much-needed boost after one of the most difficult stretches of his presidency.
“This will be a turning point for the president’s campaign and the start of an aggressive schedule just like you saw in 2016,” said the Trump campaign adviser.
The president hopes to be on the road at least four days a week beginning in late August, this person said, even though his team is still deciding whether each stop will involve a large-scale rally.