The police barricades are already up outside the Regal movie theater in the Staten Island neighborhood of Charleston — and police officials are inspecting the large lot where hundreds are expected to show their support Saturday for President Trump.
“You want to rally up the voters, potential voters, I think it’s an excellent idea,” one man said.
The rally will focus on the need to help small businesses, support law enforcement and, of course, vote for the president.
The Staten Island Republican Party sponsors a rally like this every year about a month before Election Day, to get people to vote - and this year is no exception, despite the coronavirus, and President Trump's announcement that he's tested positive for it. Organizers say the President's diagnosis hasn’t changed plans for the rally.
“I’m not particularly concerned about us doing peaceful protest of folks here in Staten Island when we saw thousands upon thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters in Prospect Park. This event is going to be on a much, much smaller scale than a lot of those riots and protests, and so we’re going to do our best to ensure that people are safe,” Brendan Lantry, the head of the Staten Island GOP, told NY1 by phone.
That means using two big parking lots for the expected crowd, and setting up a stage for speakers.
Lantry says the outdoor location offers plenty of space for social distancing.
As for mask wearing, Lantry explained, “It’s not for me to require people to wear masks in public. I know certainly, we're going to encourage people to wear masks tomorrow.”
Island republican leaders will attend the rally, as well PBA President Pat Lynch. The Staten Island GOP had been hoping to attract a senior White House official to the event, but the president's coronavirus diagnosis has changed those plans.