Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to appear at a rally in Austin tonight.
That’s right. A Republican running for national office is holding a rally in the most liberal city in the state and it’s just 76 days until Election Day.
If that sounds like a weird move— it’s because it is, according to these Republican strategists.
“It’s weird and it’s a complete waste of time,” says Brendan Steinhauser, co-founder and partner at Steinhauser Strategies and a former campaign manager for Sen. John Cornyn.
Deidre Delisi, a partner at Delisi Communications and former Chief of Staff for Gov. Rick Perry, says she finds it pretty baffling, too.
“You know it’s a little bit groundbreaking – I guess is a positive way to put a spin on it,” she says. “Certainly unheard of.”
Steinhauser says he’s having a hard time understanding what Trump thinks he’ll gain from today’s rally.
“A lot of Republican strategists and operatives and candidates and party figures are scratching their heads with this one trying to figure what Donald Trump is up to, what he knows that we don’t about campaigns,” he says. “Because for us this looks like a wasted opportunity for him to spend time in Columbus, Ohio, or in Tampa, Florida or places like that which will actually determine the election in November.”
This is the time when candidates are usually spending time in swing states –trying to make electoral math go their way. Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has been doing that.
In fact, when it was time to pull more money out of Texas’ political ATM – it was running mate Tim Kaine who came to Austin two weeks ago. Not Clinton. Beyond Trump’s personal appearance for cash (he’s attending fundraisers in Fort Worth and Downtown Austin), no one really understands why he’d also hold a rally.
Steinhauser says for one – Austin isn’t a place where’d you find Republicans anyway.