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Florida's coronavirus outbreak complicates Republican convention, Trump's reelection bid

David Smiley and Francesca Chambers, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

Trump's polling numbers, meanwhile, are slipping further behind former Vice President Joe Biden in Florida, where a Fox News poll of registered voters in the state recently found the president down by 9 points, and only about one-third of voters, or 36%, said they would trust Trump more than Biden to effectively respond to the pandemic.

Any return to his home state has seemingly been frustrated by the coronavirus as well.

Trump recently promised to reporters that he would hold a rally in Florida, but details of that event have not emerged. And the campaign "postponed out of an abundance of caution" Pence's Thursday stop in Sarasota, which was supposed to be part of his "Faith in America" tour, though he'll still meet with the governor and the governor's health team, Pence's office said.

"It's always great to have the president and the vice president and surrogates doing earned media events, and there's no more of a powerful messenger than when the president of the United States lands in a state," Gorka said. "At the same time, the blocking and tackling, the fundamentals of the campaign, have been operating at 100% every single day."

A Trump campaign spokeswoman said that in Florida, 18,000 grassroots supporters had been contacted and the campaign had held more than 1,100 online events. Close to 9 million calls have been put into Florida voters, too, said Samantha Zager, noting that the Trump campaign has had staffers in the state since 2015.

Trump's ability to accept the Republican Party's nomination before a packed arena in late August also appears to be in question as dozens of doctors and health professionals call on the city of Jacksonville to either postpone the convention or dramatically slim down plans to draw thousands to the city for Trump's reelection kickoff.

 

The indoor mask order announced Monday could potentially require convention attendees, including Trump, to wear facial coverings during the Aug. 24 convention.

"Governor Ron DeSantis and Mayor Lenny Curry have consistently prioritized the health of all Floridians throughout this global pandemic. As we plan for an event that is two months away, we continue to follow their lead and will always put the health of our guests and our city first," said Erin Isaac, Jacksonville 2020 Host Committee communications director.

Trump has notably avoided wearing a mask in public. His press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said Monday that Trump had no objections to Jacksonville's mask mandate, but did not say the president would wear a mask during the convention if local rules require it.

"He has no problem with masks and to do whatever your local jurisdiction expects of you," McEnany said.

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