President Donald Trump is hosting a series of events this week as an alternative to the Democratic National Convention speeches. One of them took place on Monday, August 17 in Mankato, Minnesota, where about 500 people attended, according to local news sources. Although these aren’t officially referred to as “rallies” by the campaign, they are being referred to as rallies by some supporters and media sources.
About 500 Attended Trump’s Mankato Speech, Many Without Masks
Trump’s Mankato stop took place at the Mankato Regional Airport, Mankato Free Press reported. The Free Press referred reported that the crowd size was about 500.
KARE 11 said on Twitter that the crowd numbered at about 250, and Trump arrived about 15 minutes early. Later reports clarified that there were 250 people inside the hangar and 250 people outside, for a total of 500, according to NBC News.
In photos, many appeared to not be masked and to be standing close together rather than social distancing. However, there were people in the crowd wearing masks, too. They were outside — this was not an indoor event.
Monica Alba of NBC News reported that mask usage was inconsistent at the rally, and they were not required. She said on Twitter that the campaign is focusing on smaller, outdoor events rather than large, indoor events because of the pandemic.
Alba tweeted that the chairs were originally set up for social distancing, but didn’t remain that way once Air Force One arrived. She wrote: “The chairs were set up socially distant originally but that pretty much goes out the window once Air Force One pulls up on the tarmac. This is one of the many challenges with campaigning during coronavirus. Several hundred here waiting to see President Trump speak…. President Trump has been speaking for more than an hour now here in Mankato, Minnesota. Campaign official says 250 people are inside the hangar, 250 outside, so 500 total at this mini-rally. Next up, similar set up in: Oshkosh, Wisconsin.”
Here’s another look at the crowd when Air Force One arrived.
During the speech, Trump said Biden was a “puppet” and referred to Democrats as “fascists.” He also said that farmers were benefitting from the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal.
Trump Has Another Event Scheduled for Tomorrow in Arizona
Before his speech in Mankato, Trump also spoke to supporters in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, CBS Minnesota reported. He encouraged attendees to vote on November 3 in the “most important election in history,” and he spoke against the idea of defunding the police.
During his speech, Trump also talked about his concerns over mail-in voting, trying to draw a distinction between absentee voting and mail-in voting, although they are essentially the same, Mankato Free Press reported.
Although some referred to Trump’s speeches today as “rallies,” the Trump campaign itself hasn’t called the speech a rally.
Tomorrow, Trump’s campaign has an official event listed as taking place at The Defense Contractor Complex – Joe Foss Hangar in Yuma, Arizona at 1 p.m. MST, with doors opening at 10 a.m. The event is called, “President Donald J. Trump to deliver remarks on Joe Biden’s failures on Immigration and Border Security” and requires that people register for first-come-first-served tickets online. The tickets don’t guarantee attendance, but help the campaign know how many to expect.
The events from Monday were not listed on the campaign’s official website.