President Trump’s hospitalization has forced his campaign to cancel rallies in the battleground states of Florida and Wisconsin, compromising his ability to motivate supporters with just weeks until the Nov. 3 election.
Large campaign rallies have long been a staple of Mr. Trump’s political operation. But with the president receiving treatment for Covid-19 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, it could be weeks before he can return to the campaign trail.
Lagging in many national and state polls, Mr. Trump had planned to hold a rally in the vote-rich Orlando area on Friday and in Janesville and Green Bay, Wis., on Saturday. All three events have been scrubbed.
The campaign’s next scheduled event is on Thursday in Peoria, Ariz., with Vice President Mike Pence.
Mr. Trump’s campaign has been particularly active in Wisconsin, a state he won narrowly in 2016 and which many see as a must-win battleground in 2020. His absence from the state during the final weeks could affect his ability to rally his base of rural supporters.
“I think it will have some impact here in Wisconsin because his visits here have been to these smaller media markets, and my sense is they get quite a bit of play when he shows up,” Katherine J. Cramer, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin, said on Saturday.
Voter turnout could suffer, she said. “There’s so much energy and excitement around these visits.”
The Trump campaign said on Friday that previously announced events with the president and his family would either be held virtually or “temporarily postponed.” Future events would be “considered on a case-by-case basis.”
Some Trump supporters were left to wonder how the president’s absence might shake up the campaign.
“I honestly don’t know. I have no clue what’s going to happen,” said Donald VandeYacht, treasurer of the Republican Party in Brown County, Wis., which includes Green Bay. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Janesville is located in Brown County.) Mr. VandeYacht said, he too, had tested positive for the coronavirus and hoped the president would recover soon.
“People have been supporting him and I expect that to continue,” he said.