Donald Trump is not campaigning earlier than other presidents — he's just more upfront about it, says Brendan Doherty, an associate professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy.
In a column for The Washington Post, Doherty, author of "The Rise of the President's Permanent Campaign,"writes: "While other presidents' travel had political undercurrents, Trump is making the implicit explicit."
Doherty's comments come after the president addressed a Florida rally last weekend.
"In some ways, Trump's visits around the country have been similar to those of his predecessors," Doherty writes.
"In his first month in office, he went to Philadelphia to address a Republican congressional retreat, to Tampa to visit MacDill Air Force Base, to North Charleston, S.C., for an event at a Boeing facility, and to Melbourne, Fla., for his campaign rally.
"That's four presidential days of public events outside Washington, Maryland and Virginia within his first month as president. Within their presidencies' first months, Barack Obama had five; George W. Bush also had four; and George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton each had three…
"Trump also followed in his predecessors' footsteps by holding his rally in a key battleground state …"
But he said other presidents tried to avoid appearing to do anything "explicitly electoral" early in their administrations.
And he noted: "Even when presidents are clearly campaigning for election, they often attest that they are not."
"Since Trump was more direct about his intentions, so was the news media, which covered Trump's Feb. 18 rally in Florida as a political event," he notes.
But it will likely cost Trump, he says in the column.
"…his 2020 campaign committee likely has to pay for a portion of the costs of his travel for his Florida campaign event," he writes.
Meanwhile, Time reports that Trump views rallies like the Florida event as part of the job of the president to promote the spirit of the American people, and it said more rallies are planned for the coming weeks.
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