Just three months after his shocking election victory in 2016 and 29 days in office, president Donald Trump is kicking off his reelection campaign with a rally in Melbourne, Florida on Saturday.
Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was a work of improvisation: Seemingly in permanent chaos, with frequent changes of leadership, perpetual gaffes, and a strategy devised on the fly. But somehow, ——with Russia’s help-— Trump managed to defeat the elaborate, best-and-brightest team of Hillary Clinton.
The idea of a “permanent campaign” has been floating around American political for decades. But taking the permanent campaign to new levels with a political rally in Florida less than a month into his presidency.
Make no mistakes, this is Trump’s first rally of his reelection campaign, a signal that he’s not going to fly on a wing and a prayer again in 2020.
Trump’s choice to hold a campaign rally less than a month into his presidency breaks new ground. While his predecessors practiced electoral politics between cycles, none was willing to do so as quickly as Trump. In February 2009, Barack Obama made several trips to promote the stimulus package and his agenda. But Obama’s events were aimed at boosting specific policies.
Trump by contrast is planning a straightforward campaign-style rally on Saturday. It’s at an airport, in a swing state, and it’s 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… at taxpayers’ expense.
The event might also grant Trump more leeway to make bombastic 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.
But Trump runs the risk of appearing presumptuous in beginning his campaign at so early a date. After all, shouldn’t one master the art of governing before one begins to campaign for a second tour?
By all accounts, The White House is in a state of chaos. Federal courts have brought Trump’s signature immigration executive order to a halt. On Monday, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign after his contacts with the Russian ambassador were exposed by the media. On Wednesday, Trump’s nominee for labor secretary withdrew when it became clear he could not be confirmed. Isn’t there enough in Washington for Trump to attend to?