WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump is holding a campaign rally Saturday in politically strategic Florida — 1,354 days before the 2020 election.
“Will be having many meetings this weekend at The Southern White House,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Big 5:00 p.m. speech in Melbourne, Florida. A lot to talk about!”
The unusually early politicking follows a pattern: Trump filed his paperwork for re-election on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. By comparison, President Barack Obama didn’t make his re-election bid official with the Federal Election Commission until April 2011.
Huge rallies were the hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaign. He continued to do them, although with smaller crowds, throughout the early part of his transition, during what he called a “thank you” tour.
The Florida event will be his first such one as president.
Trump’s upcoming evening event is set for an airport hangar in Melbourne, Florida, and it comes as he makes another weekend trip to what he calls his “Winter White House,” his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.
Trump also said he would play golf this weekend with Ernie Els, a South African professional golfer. It will be his Trump’s third consecutive weekend at Mar-a-Lago.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the rally is “being run by the campaign.” It follows an official trip Friday to South Carolina, where Trump will visit a Boeing facility in North Charleston.
Spicer and others at the White House have not responded to repeated questions about why Trump’s campaign is organizing this rally, or about who will pay for the event and transportation to and from it. Presidents regularly hold large campaign-style events to build support for their policies. Those events are often considered part of their official duties and organized by the White House.
Michael Glassner, executive director of Trump’s campaign committee, also did not respond to questions.
Trump’s campaign account had more than $7.6 million in the bank at the end of the year, according to fundraising reports. He’s continued raising money postelection by selling popular merchandise, such as the ubiquitous red “Make America Great Again” ball caps.
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