North Carolina limits outdoor gatherings at 50 people to prevent the Covid-19 virus transmission, but several thousand maskless supporters gathered to greet President Donald Trump.
The US President enjoyed the view on Tuesday in this critical battleground state.
“As far as the eye can see,” Trump said, reveling at the sight of people flouting public health guidelines at Tuesday's rally.
“I really believe that these crowds are bigger than they were four years ago.”
A day earlier in Pennsylvania, Trump's Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, held a socially distanced meeting in a backyard. His team has been so attentive to local regulations that some staffers have left the room if they risked breaking the rules on crowd limits.
“I really miss being able to, you know, grab hands and shake hands," Biden recently told supporters. "You can’t do that now.”
With less than eight weeks until Election Day, Trump and Biden are taking diametrically opposite approaches to campaigning during a pandemic — and the differences amount to more than political theater.
The candidates are effectively staking out different visions for the country with Biden emphasizing guidelines supported by local health officials while Trump rails against restrictions that he argues — without evidence — are politically motivated.
“By the way, your state should be open,” Trump said in North Carolina — a state where he has feuded with Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, over his abandoned plans to hold the Republican National Convention in Charlotte.
“It’s you, it's Michigan, it’s a couple others,” Trump added, as he sees a potent line of attack in battleground states run by Democrats.
Trump aides and allies suggest the president sees his rallies as a manifestation of the reopening he’s preaching — and that he believes is vital to the nation’s economic recovery and what voters want.
In a dig at those who warn against reopening too quickly, Trump suggested that these states would suddenly reopen the day after the election — when opponents advocating caution can no longer hurt his reelection.