PORTSMOUTH, NH (CBS) – President Trump says the threat of tropical storm Fay is forcing him to postpone Saturday’s rally in Portsmouth, NH. It had the potential to bring a lot of visitors to the area, which is just what concerns some local business owners.
“I think it’s postponing the inevitable,” said Evan Mallett owner of the Black Trumpet restaurant. He admits he’s not too disappointed President Trump won’t be coming this weekend. “I think there’s a risk of people coming from outside our community who are going to be irresponsible and that’s scary,” said Mallett.
Several Portsmouth business owners worry about the no masks or social distancing requirements for such an expected large gathering of supporters who could then visit their establishments.
Bookstore owner Tom Holbrook shares the same concerns, especially since Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month led to an uptick in coronavirus cases. “This is a simple, simple thing that could be done to make me feel a better,” said Holbrook.
It created an opportunity for New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes to take aim at Governor Sununu for not issuing a public health order about the rally. “This one event could put fragile progress out the window,” said Feltes.
The postponement is a disappointment for Trump supporter Bob Downing who wanted to attend the event, and thinks the public health concerns about it are overblown. “You can’t let the virus run your life, you got to live,” said Downing.
No doubt it is tourists and people visiting from outside the area who help the community thrive in the summertime. But business owners say it’s the potential exposure of the Trump supporters who don’t wear masks that worries them the most. “I believe that’s the message forwarded by this administration that it’s OK to encourage people to be out in public without precaution,” said Mallett.