The president’s coronavirus infection has brought the early arrival of a question vital to the future of the Republican Party: Can the MAGA movement exist without Donald Trump?
The answer for the party is: Maybe. At least if the president’s family is involved.
With Trump confined to the White House this past week after becoming sick with the COVID-19, the mega MAGA rallies have been reduced to smaller vignettes, including one held with his eldest son in a tow truck yard.
The event was just one of a half-dozen as the campaign tries to regain its foothold in Florida, which polling shows is a tight race with Joe Biden in the lead. Trump’s campaign is being explicit about the state’s importance for the president’s reelection chances: Trump announced he’ll make his first campaign stop since contracting COVID-19 in Sanford, Florida on Monday.
In the president’s absence, however, Eric Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Karen Pence, and surrogates are making appearances across Florida over the next three days. The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is going all out in the state with his father ailing, including with a particularly on-brand bus tour featuring celebrities from the world of ultimate fighting.