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Trump to hold outdoor campaign rally in Portsmouth, N.H.

President Donald Trump greets visitors as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House during a "Salute to America" event, Saturday, July 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump greets visitors as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House during a "Salute to America" event, Saturday, July 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is set to hold an outdoor rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, according to the president’s campaign.

The campaign rally at Portsmouth International Airport will come three weeks after an indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the president's first of the COVID-19 era, drew a smaller-than-expected crowd amid concerns of rising infections in the region.

The Trump campaign's announcement of the Portsmouth rally noted that “there will be ample access to hand sanitizer and all attendees will be provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear.” Many people at Trump's rally in Tulsa skipped wearing masks, and relatively few masks were seen during his speech at South Dakota's Mount Rushmore last Friday.

Public health officials are cautioning against holding large gatherings as the virus continues to spread throughout much of the country, but they believe outdoor congregations are relatively less risky than indoor gatherings. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said last week that Trump may more frequently opt to turn to outdoor venues to host his campaign speeches.

“We need to understand it’s a new world in terms of there are many people who support the president ... who are not going to another rally,” Conway said. “It’s high risk, low reward for them, because they already support him."

Trump and his campaign hyped his formal return to the campaign trail with last month’s Tulsa rally, which ultimately ended in a disappointing turnout and an outbreak of the virus among staff and Secret Service agents.

Separately, a top Trump campaign fundraiser, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the president's speech at Mount Rushmore. Guilfoyle, who is the girlfriend of Trump's eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., had traveled separately from the president to South Dakota but did not attend the event.

The president was narrowly defeated in 2016 in New Hampshire by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Before the pandemic, campaign officials had pointed to the state, in addition to Minnesota and New Mexico, as a place where they saw a chance to expand the electoral map.