Americans nationwide are preparing for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign official launch on Tuesday evening in Orlando, Florida, by planning watch parties–hundreds of them–from coast to coast for those who cannot trek down to the Sunshine State rally but want to watch as part of a community.
From Maine to Alabama, from Washington, D.C., to New Hampshire, from North Carolina to Florida, from Nevada to Minnesota, and in so many other places nationwide, Trump supporters are holding watch parties for the president’s rally on Tuesday evening officially launching his re-election campaign in 2020.
Trump is expected to take stage right at primetime, at 8:00 p.m. ET, and many of these parties are beginning around 7:30 or some even earlier. Some are hosted by Republican officials, or Trump campaign officials, others by conservative groups–and some just by ardent Trump supporters doing so on their own.
The Washington Examiner‘s Paul Bedard, quoting Trump campaign officials, counted 797 watch parties coast-to-coast.
Hundreds of ‘watch parties’ and Trump-Pence reelection training events are set to take place Tuesday as President Trump announces his bid for a second term at a massive rally in Orlando, Fla., according to campaign officials. A total of 797 events are already planned to focus on the president’s announcement, and they will occur in every state, plus Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
In a memo to interested parties on Monday, the Republican National Committee’s Trump Victory Political Director Chris Carr detailed the staggering grassroots organizing statistics for Republicans seeking to re-elect President Trump.
Carr wrote in the memo:
We continue to focus on Trump Victory Leadership Initiative (TVLI) trainings and MAGA Meet-Ups. Tomorrow, the MAGA Meet-Ups will be hosted by our supporters and Trump Neighborhood Teams Leaders. These MAGA Meet-Ups will primarily be watch parties for the President’s rally. Below you will find the number of trainings, attendees and participants as it currently stands. We presently have MAGA Meet-Ups in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa. To date, 33 states have completed a TVLI training totaling 120 TVLI trainings with 2,158 attendees.
The statistics for the “National Week of Training,” which goes from June 14 to June 20, as released by Carr are as follows:
Trump Victory Leadership Initiative Trainings:
- 254 Events
- 4,426 Attendees
- 50 State & Territories Participating
- 217 Coalition-Specific Trainings
- 717 Events
- 11,899 Attendees
- 53 State & Territories Participating
- 971 Events
- 16,325 Attendees
The RNC’s Mike Reed, in a follow-up memo, wrote that “the numbers and enthusiasm we are witnessing is absolutely astounding – So far, over 250 training events are planned which will train a total of over 4,400 people. And over 700 MAGA meet-ups are planned, hosting nearly 12,000 attendees, to watch President Trump’s rally tomorrow night.”
Reed compares this to the Democrat side of the aisle, which has plans to train just 1,000 college students in a year’s time, according to a report in The Hill newspaper, which he scoffs at, noting that Republicans have done more in a week than Democrats are aiming to do in a year.
“So, this week alone our operation is going to train 4 TIMES more volunteers than the DNC is going to train all year,” the RNC’s Reed wrote.
The fact that the campaign and GOP–as well as conservative groups and other Trump supporters out there–are holding “watch parties” to get people together to watch Trump’s campaign kickoff is something that brings communities of folks together in a movement, rather than disparate and distanced people individually watching in their own homes. Trump deeply understands the power of movement politics, and in 2016 told Breitbart News exclusively that he views himself as a messenger for that broader movement.
“I’m a messenger to a movement,” Trump said in the interview published in July 2016. “Many, many people—Bill O’Reilly said this is the greatest phenomenon he’s ever seen in politics. You know that, right? Matt, I had 4,000 people last night and I had 3,000 people standing outside. Obama had 1,500 people. I had 7,000 people. I had thousands standing outside. Look, this is a movement. I say I’m the messenger to the movement. I’m the messenger.”
While many people in Orlando have been lining up as early as 42 hours before the rally outside Trump’s event venue in Florida–and he is expected to more than fill the Amway Center easily–watch parties nationwide bring a similar sense of community to watching the president launch his re-election bid. It also allows campaign and party officials to establish contact with local organizers, volunteers, and those interested in helping the cause–reliable people who can be counted on later, due in large to their devotion and energy, to help the campaign when needed.
These could also become a regular thing, and while not every rally in the future will warrant a watch party, informal gatherings of Trump supporters on their own outside campaign and party official structures could spring forth from this–and that is where movements grow and become seriously powerful.