KEY POINTS

  • Trump's rally in North Carolina gathered hundreds at an airport tarmac as the crowd openly ignored social distancing and mask guidelines
  • Biden appeared in Pennsylvania to meet with local labor union leaders at a supporter's home with a minimal ammount of people present
  • Both events are expected to be the norm from both campaigns over the next two months before the general election

Rallies North Carolina and Pennsylvania held Tuesday by the Trump and Biden campaigns, respectively, offered a possible snapshot of what their rallies may look like as the 2020 campaign trail enters its homestretch.

President Donald Trump addressed the crowd of hundreds packed together at an airport in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Trump immediately thanked those present for coming out and flaunted the size of the crowd.

“As far as the eye can see,” Trump said. “I really believe that these crowds are bigger than they were four years ago.”

The actual size of the crowd may be debatable, one thing that can’t be argued was an apparent disregard for state guidelines on coronavirus.

This has become a norm at Trump rallies since he began earnestly campaigning again in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20. Hundreds of supporters came out to his June rally, closely packing together instead of following social distancing guidelines promoted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and White House infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. Most preset at the rally were not wearing masks, either.

Winston-Salem was no different as the crowd closely packed together for Tuesday’s rally and most were not wearing masks, including Trump. Forsyth County Board of Commissioners’ Republican Chairman Dave Plyler told the Winston-Salem Journal he asked Trump before the rally to adhere to state guidelines on masks and social distancing while campaigning, but his plea appeared to be ignored.

“It's been ordered by the governor,” Plyler said. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in North Carolina, do as the governor says.”

However, Trump appeared to mock the state’s guidelines while also attacking Black Lives Matter protests by referring to his rallies as “peaceful protests.”

“You can’t go to church, you can’t do anything outside,” Trump said. “If you are willing to riot, running down the main street, if you want to riot and stand on top of each other’s face and do whatever the hell you want to do, you are allowed to do that because you are considered a peaceful protester.”

By comparison, Biden’s campaign has been staging outdoor rallies sparingly since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in February. The former vice president and his team opted to hold several online events with Biden speaking in a manner compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” during the Great Depression. While state and health officials have praised him for this decision to avoid potential outbreaks, it earned him the nickname “Basement Biden” by Trump and his supporters.

That said, Biden has been making more public appearances since the 2020 Democratic National Convention. His most recent in Pennsylvania offered a snapshot of what any future events will look like ahead of the election on Nov. 3.

He stopped in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Monday, meeting in a backyard with social distancing and mask guidelines strictly enforced by Biden’s campaign team. The event was hosted by a local supporter so Biden could meet and speak with union leaders about how he would help them if elected.

A small crowd of supporters gathered across the street from the home' Biden addressed them before he left.

One of the issues he spoke about was Trump’s recent comments saying Biden was undermining the public’s faith in a potential coronavirus vaccine with “anti-vaccine rhetoric.” Biden said this was not the case and simply wanted to assure a potential coronavirus vaccine was safe and not rushed.

“If I could get the vaccine tomorrow, I’d do it. If it cost me the election, I’d do it,” Biden said. “We need a vaccine and we need it now.

Biden was seen later at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ Pennsylvania headquarters in Harrisburg, where a crowd of about 100 supporters gathered outside. Many were seen waving homemade signs and chanting “Go Joe” as Biden waved to the crowd. However, he did not step outside to address the crowd as he did in Harrisburg.

However, this has been the relative norm for Biden’s campaign as it typically follows the strictest guidelines laid out by the state when out in public. This is why any organized events are typically  50 people or fewer and any larger crowds tend to form organically.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has largely refrained from traditional in-person campaigning due to the coronavirus pandemic, although he greeted supporters in Wisconsin two months before the November 3, 2020 election Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has largely refrained from traditional in-person campaigning due to the coronavirus pandemic, although he greeted supporters in Wisconsin two months before the November 3, 2020 election Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON