As US Democrats kick off a highly unorthodox convention that will culminate in the nomination of presidential candidate Joe Biden, President Donald Trump, never one to share the spotlight, is hitting the campaign trail.
The visits to several key battleground states during the Democratic Party’s biggest election-year event is yet another break from tradition for a candidate-turned-president who has built a reputation on bucking norms.
Historically, candidates have kept a low profile during the other party’s days-long conventions, a kind of temporary “laying down arms for the week”, political analyst Eric Ham told Al Jazeera.
But Trump is setting out on his busiest campaign travel week since the coronavirus pandemic drastically curtailed the president’s public appearances. Trump also held campaign events during the 2016 Democratic National Convention and famously grabbed headlines by calling on Russia “to find” missing emails from then- Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s private server.
Trump’s eagerness to again take to the stump during this cycle’s convention indicates that his campaign feels it has little choice amid slumping polls, a bump in support for Biden after his history-making running mate pick of Senator Kamala Harris, and an anticipated post-convention bump in Democratic support, Ham said.
“With Trump being not just down, but way down in the polls, and to basically have a week where you are losing time, while Covid-19 continues to rage,” said.
Ham, “that’s a lot of ground for him to cede in this moment.”
On Monday, Trump told reporters at the White House that the campaign had entered the “final crunch”.
Earlier in the day, he told the Fox and Friends programme that he was compelled to campaign this week by the media’s coverage of his presidency and campaign.
“I have no choice because we have a fake media in this country,” Trump said when asked about the break from tradition in his campaign plans. “So I have to work, I don’t have time not to.”
Trump landed in Minnesota on Monday and will later in the evening deliver a speech at a private air hangar in the battleground state of Wisconsin. That event will be about 145km (90 miles) from Milwaukee, the control centre of the Democratic convention, which will be mostly digital with speeches streamed from across the country.—AL JAZEERA
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