On Wednesday, while speaking with reporters in the Oval Office about Hurricane Michael—with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FEMA head Brock Long in attendance—President Donald Trump was asked about his rally in Erie, Pennsylvania scheduled for Wednesday night.
At the time, Trump said no decision had been made about his second rally in two nights. Tuesday night, Trump held a rally in Iowa.
The President speculated if it was better to stay in Washington and monitor the situation with Hurricane Michael—which he referred to as “one of the biggest storms ever to hit our country”—making landfall in the Florida panhandle or go to Pennsylvania to speak in front of his supporters.
But Trump kept stating how long people in Pennsylvania had waited in line, with many coming the night before, to see him. It would be unfair to them to cancel, the President kept saying leading many to speculate he intended to go.
“It looks like there are thousands of people already lined up and probably we’ll do that tonight. Right nearby we have thousands of people going tonight and many are there already. I don’t know what to do because we have so many people already there and it’s unfair to them.”
But by a bill signing later that afternoon, Trump decided not disappointing his fans took precedence over staying at the White House command center to monitor the storm or government response. When asked if it was the wrong time to leave for a rally in a non-presidential election year, the President responded:
“I hear they have thousands of people lined up, and so we are in a little bit of a quagmire. I don’t want to disappoint people.”
“They’ve gotten there—some people were staying, they got there last night. I believe it starts at about 7:00… So we’ll probably go, ’cause what are you going to do?”
“Tell thousands of people they’ve been waiting there all night that we’re not coming? That’s not fair either.”
Watch the President’s remarks here.
“We are in a little bit of a quagmire. I don’t want to disappoint people,” President Trump says when asked by @KellyO if he thinks it’s appropriate to continue with his campaign rally tonight as a Cat. 4 hurricane lashes Florida. pic.twitter.com/gVF0Xb4sGA
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 10, 2018
Then the President tweeted he left the White House for his rally.
Departing the @WhiteHouse for Erie, Pennsylvania. I cannot disappoint the thousands of people that are there – and the thousands that are going. I look forward to seeing everyone this evening.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2018
But back in 2012, then businessman Donald Trump had a completely different opinion on Twitter about a President leaving the White House during a storm, even though 2012 was a Presidential election year. Because there is always a tweet from Donald Trump to criticize something President Trump chooses to do.
In 2012, Trump stated:
Let’s be honest, if Obama thought he could get away with campaigning during the storm, then he would have been in Ohio on Monday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2012
But those weren’t the only tweets people found where Donald Trump criticized President Barack Obama for considering campaigning during a major weather event—which Obama did not do—or its aftermath.