President Donald Trump is going back to his happy place this weekend — a podium in front of thousands of his supporters. Yes, after a month on the job, he's planning a campaign-style rally in Florida.
This shouldn't come as a shock, as Trump has considered reviving these events since before he became president. The first in what may very well become a series of similar events will be held at a hangar in Melbourne, Florida.
"Trump’s choice to hold a campaign rally less than a month into his presidency breaks new ground," wrote David Graham of The Atlantic. After noting that even previous presidents who employed a "permanent campaign" approach tried to be subtle, Graham added that Trump "is planning a straightforward campaign-style rally on Saturday. This will take place at an airport, in a swing state, and the event is being advertised through his campaign website. His press secretary even called it a campaign event."
Making the event a campaign event rather than a speech might afford Trump greater flexibility in who he allows to attend and who he excludes. It means that the Trump campaign will likely pick up some of the travel tab, rather than taxpayers. But it might also grant Trump more leeway to make straightforwardly political arguments and attacks that it might be unseemly for a president to make at an official event — though Trump has shown such little regard for those unwritten rules that it’s hard to imagine he could be significantly more strident.
On the Friday before his Florida event, Trump is expected to appear in Charleston, South Carolina. Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday that the president will do this so as to roll out a new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. "This visit will give the president an opportunity to celebrate a huge milestone for thousands of workers at Boeing, America’s No. 1 exporter in the millions of American workers involved in aerospace," Spicer said. "This trip has been months in the making, and we’re thrilled to celebrating the rollout of this amazing plane."
In Trump's first campaign-style rally in Cincinnati during December after winning the 2016 presidential election, he announced that General James Mattis would be his defense secretary, took potshots at Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and fondly reminisced to his supporters that "we did have a lot of fun fighting Hillary, didn’t we?" When they burst into a chant of "Lock her up!" Trump seemed to enjoy himself.