So much for a new strategy.
Donald Trump dramatically bulked up his campaign schedule in New Hampshire this week as he faced criticism that he doesn’t do enough retail politics.
But with a snowstorm barreling down on the state, the Trump campaign canceled a morning town hall in Londonderry – his only campaign stop in the Granite State scheduled for Friday, just days out from Tuesday’s primary contest.
“Big storm in New Hampshire. Moved my event to Monday. Will be there next four days,” Trump tweeted.
Trump finds himself in this predicament due to his habit of returning to his New York City home in between campaign stops. Most candidates stay on the road overnight during extended campaign swings, but Trump returned home on Thursday night rather than staying in New Hampshire, according to a source familiar with the candidate’s travel plans.
Jeb Bush mocked Trump for canceling his event, tweeting at his rival: “My 90 year old mother made it out to campaign.” The message included a picture of Bush’s mother, Barbara, shaking hands with a little girl at a campaign stop.
One New Hampshire GOP official, who declined to be named in order to speak freely ahead of the primary race here, suggested that Trump would not have had to cancel his event had he not gone home to New York.
“There are no other campaigns canceling events as far as I know right now. We would expect there to be a blizzard for a campaign to cancel,” the official said. “So maybe the question is: Why did he go back to New York last night?”
At least one other GOP candidate faced weather-related problems on Friday. Carly Fiorina was stuck in Manchester and had to skip a town hall in Epping, according to her deputy campaign manager Sarah Isgur Flores. Fiorina’s husband, Frank, did attend the event.
Sheltair, the fixed-base operator (FBO) where Trump keeps his private plane at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, told CNN that his plane arrived shortly after 1 a.m. early Friday morning, and that as of 10:30 a.m. the plane was there and the FBO was open. The FBO in Manchester, New Hampshire, purports it is “always open for business, 24 hours a day.”
In a statement, the campaign said the town hall event was canceled “due to the weather and the airports being closed,” but that it would be rescheduled. It also emphasized that Trump plans to campaign in New Hampshire “on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.”
Trump is planning on attending a South Carolina rally scheduled for Friday evening.
The cancellation of the Londonderry event amounts to unfortunate optics for Trump at a crucial point in the 2016 race. Trump is hoping for a first-place finish in New Hampshire after losing the Iowa caucuses to rival Ted Cruz.
Trump himself admitted after Iowa that he didn’t have much of a ground game there.
On Thursday, the Trump campaign added several extra campaign stops to his schedule, including town hall style events. Trump has largely avoided smaller, intimate campaign events – including question-and-answer sessions with voters – so far this cycle, choosing to hold large rallies instead.
CNN’s Jim Acosta contributed to this report.